The Volokh Conspiracy

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Special 2022 edition!


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  1. The Department of Justice “remains committed to holding all Jan. 6 perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law — whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a Tuesday speech from the department addressing the Jan. 6 prosecutions.

    Let´s hope so. I´ll believe it when I see it.

    Perhaps DOJ should grant John Eastman immunity and compel his testimony without benefit of the privilege against self-incrimination. The attorney-client privilege is inapplicable where the attorney assists the client in commission of a crime.

    1. Being “present” is not a crime and Garland ought to be brought up to The Hague for the shit he’s doing.

      1. Those who were present and participating in the riot are low hanging fruit. Let´s see whether DOJ pursues the other malefactors -- those who set the events of the day in motion.

        1. Nancy Pelosi and FBI honchos will never see the inside of a court room.

            1. You posited a conspiracy behind 1/6. If there is one, then point towards those whose ends were served by it.

              1. Exactly. The Jan 6th riot did nothing productive from Trump's standpoint, and never had any chance of doing so. A big crowd outside the Capitol? Sure, that demonstrates significant public support for Trump.

                Breaking into the Capitol? There was no way that wasn't going to have exactly the effect it DID have: Making his election challenge radioactive, forcing him to terminate it.

                As an 'insurrection' it makes no sense at all. As a Reichstag fire, it makes perfect sense.

                1. Michael, and Brett, you've made a basic category error here. The issue is not who benefits from a conspiracy, but rather who entered into the conspiracy. That a particular conspiracy may be incompetent and benefit people the conspirators didn't intend to benefit is irrelevant.

                  So even if I were to agree with you that January 6 benefitted the Democrats -- and I don't -- the Democrats were not the ones who stormed the Capitol. Please stop trying to shift blame away from the ones who actually incited and then engaged in a riot.

                  1. "So even if I were to agree with you that January 6 benefited the Democrats -- and I don't"

                    OK, so we've established at the start that you're delusional.

                    1. Also that he's stupid, because the question about this conspiracy was not "who stormed the Capitol" but "who set the events of the day in motion".

                      That phrasing was dishonest from the start, because there were a lot of perfectly legitimate events of the day, but one presumes the correct focus is "who set the violence and trespass in motion", which seems to have heavily involved some of the FBI's former "most wanted" of the day. These are people who are no longer being sought or charged, much less jailed or tried.

                    2. January 6 empowered the "stop the steal" people and has resulted in multiple GOP-controlled state legislatures passing laws designed to make it harder for Democrats to win those states. It also had the side effect of purging the GOP of anti-Trumpers like Adam Kinzinger and possibly Lynn Cheney. I don't think any of that benefits the Democrats, although we won't know for sure until after 2024.

                      But none of that has anything to do with my legal point, which is this: Just because the conspiracy was not well-thought-through and produced some unintended consequences does not change who the conspirators are. This was a Republican conspiracy.

                    3. You don't have to reiterate your delusions, they are already apparent. The 1/6 rioting made it trivial to tar any "stop the steal" effort as part of an insurrection, which is why that word is still so popular even though zero people have been charged with it.

                      For example, Georgia can only now admit that it does look like there were even more violations of black-letter election law during its 2020 general election.

                    4. Well I guess I have to agree with Krychek here, I haven’t seen any concrete benefits the Democrats have gotten. Legislation passed, elections won, nothing you can take to the bank.

                      Sure they’ve got talking points to use to bludgeon Republicans over the head, and you’ve got GOP factions fighting over it. But it didn’t help them in Virginia, and it certainly doesn’t look like it’s setting them up for a triumph in 2022. So I can’t see how they’ve reaped much of a benefit.

                    5. Michael, let us know when you find Bigfoot cohabiting with Elvis.

                    6. "This was a Republican conspiracy"
                      To do what exactly?

                      This "conspiracy" was like saying "the bank stole my money," walking into the bank, walking into the bank vault, taking nothing, and turning around and going home.

                      It makes no sense as a "GOP conspiracy"

                    7. AL, let me rephrase. It was a Trumpist conspiracy.

                    8. Krychek,

                      "It was a Trumpist conspiracy."

                      To do what? It makes no sense as a "Trumpist conspiracy". A simple legal protest makes sense. Or if you're going to use violent measures in a coup to actually stop the certification...actually use violent measures to stop it. (For the record, I don't endorse violent measures, but am speaking from a point of logical sense).

                      But to break in, and then walk away without doing any of the violent measures that would actually stop the certification...makes no sense. It ensures that any legal measures to question the certification won't be undertaken. And you don't actually stop it at walking away before stopping it.

                      From a Democratic point of view, it is exactly what you would want, if you didn't want the certification questioned.

                    9. AL, I didn't say it was competent or well thought out. But have you missed the recent news stories about how Trump was pushing Pence to declare the results invalid? A successful breach of the Capitol accompanied by chants of Hang Mike Pence would absolutely have been designed to push that result through intimidation. And they only went home when reinforcements for law enforcement arrived.

                      Trump may or may not have anticipated how things would ultimately shake out -- my bet is not since thinking things through does not strike me as his strong point -- but he spurred the mob into action. You can't yell fire in a crowded theater, cause a stampede, and then say "just kidding".

                    10. " A successful breach of the Capitol accompanied by chants of Hang Mike Pence would absolutely have been designed to push that result through intimidation."

                      How do you make that stick? It's ludicrous. The moment that mob walked away, they'd just revisit the issue, and who'd dispute that they could, when the original count had been done with a dangerous mob present?

                      And the only way Trump could have avoided being directly implicated in that scenario would have been to refuse to accept the win.

                      Coups always count on holding power by force after getting it. You can't just deploy force for a moment to get anointed, and expect it to stick after the force goes away.

                      In fact, we've seen what the plan was for that day, and it was on track until the rioters screwed things up: A bunch of Republican members were going to challenge EC votes, with the aim of either getting the slates sent back to the states to get a real review of the process that had resulted in them, or preventing Biden from getting a majority of all EC votes, in which case the House would vote, by state delegation, to pick a winner. (With the latter scenario the stick that would force the Democrats to agree to the former.)

                      The riot totally put an end to what they'd actually had planned.

                    11. Brett, you are continuing to make the category error that because it was not well thought out, therefore there was no conspiracy. I can list several reasons why, from Trump's standpoint, the riot was a stupid idea that you've overlooked, but that's not the point. The point is what did he intend. It's at least arguable (and based on the TV footage I would say it's more than arguable) that he intended what happened.

                      I'm also not sure that a certification made under duress could be revisited later; the issue has (thankfully) never come up so there is no caselaw on it. At bare minimum it would have created a constitutional crisis from hell. Please stop pretending that January 6 was anything other than what it clearly was.

                    12. Krychek,

                      It doesn't make any sense. You an "incompetent" Trump who is secretly conspiring to invade the Capitol with protestors only to walk away, while simultaneously somehow being so amazingly competent as to avoid any direct evidence that he planned for the protestors to invade the Capitol?

                      It makes no sense. You're seeing what you want to see, as opposed to what makes logical sense. Here, read this to understand how you're making the same errors that the "neo-cons" made in invading Iraq.


                    13. AL, I read it. Do you think the people who planned and got us into the Iraq and Afghani wars intended or expected things to turn out the way they did? Or that they weren't simultaneously incompetent in the planning and execution of the war while at the same time finding lots of cover for their ample butts? I don't. I think there's no real evidence that anybody in Washington is good at thinking things through. So I don't find inconsistent the possibility that Trump both planned for a disruption and also managed to distance himself from what happened. But, since the matter is still under investigation, maybe we should wait until the facts are all in.

                      Suppose, though, that I agree with you that Trump had nothing to do with it (if that is indeed your position). He still abdicated his responsibility as a leader to end it. He was negligent if nothing else.

                      And here's the more important issue: We are in an escalating war between the two sides in which passions and willingness to violate boundaries has become the norm. If what happened on January 6 goes unaddressed, things will further escalate and the next one will be even worse, and I don't even care which side does the next one. This poisonous fruit is already in full bloom and it needs to be plucked before we see the next level of escalation. January 6 crossed a line, and anyone connected to it needs jail time. Including Trump if the evidence ultimately supports prosecuting him.

                    14. Fine, Krychek, we agree that Nancy Pelosi and FBI bigs should be jailed. Do you agree they will not? That's another sign of how corrupt the Democrat machine has become and how degraded the country's political environment has become.

                    15. For what should Nancy Pelosi and the FBI bigs be jailed?

                    16. Krychek,

                      You apparently took the wrong message away from the article. Those pushing the January 6th "conspiracy" are those who are in the same shoes as the NeoCons pushing the invasion of Iraq. They are taking an event, which while tragic, and pushing it far, far, beyond what can reasonably be assumed, in preference of their goals.

                      Let me state this analogy directly. YOU ARE THE NEOCON PUSHING TO INVADE IRAQ HERE.

                      What "exactly" did you want Trump to do here? Order the National Guard to protect the Capitol? He tried to. He directly requested it. And...nothing.

            're the neocon here. You're pushing a narrative based on less than stellar information.

                    17. Even if you're right, AL, the burden here is not a war; it is not blood and treasure.

                      The burden here is
                      1) Making it so statehouses can't ignore the will of their electorate when it comes to Presidential elections,
                      2) Investigations of some few people who all evidence (e.g. powerpoints and text messages) indicates were working to pull off the above,
                      3) Prosecution of people who were actually violent and destructive last year

                      Why does that make you so nervous?

                    18. Krychek: "January 6 crossed a line, and anyone connected to it needs jail time."

                      Pelosi and the FBI were connected to it.

                    19. Oh Sarcastro....

                      Let's take a few case examples.

                      Filipe Marquez

                      He...sat at a table...


                    20. Tony Mariotto

                      He....entered a room and took a selfie.

                      Tony Mariotto


                    21. Dominick Madden.

                      He....entered a room and waved an American flag, leaving 13 minutes afterwards.


                    22. John Lolos

                      He...chanted in a room.


                      This is what you're "prosecuting". This "violence".

                    23. Michael, how were they connected to it? In the same way that a homeowner is connected to a burglary?

                    24. "Brett, you are continuing to make the category error that because it was not well thought out,"

                      IF it was intended to give Trump a 2nd term, it wasn't just badly thought out, it was starkly insane, because no matter how well done, it wouldn't accomplish that. Even if they'd ringed the chamber with guys holding assault rifles, and forced them to declare Trump reelected, the moment they left, it would be all over.

                      You CAN'T take over the US government that way. To many people would refuse to accept it. Trump in particular couldn't do it, he was barely keeping the bureaucracy from open rebellion on a good day.

                      OTOH, if it was intended to force Trump to stop challenging the election, it was actually reasonably well planned and executed.

                      Now, that's not to say that a good many of the participants, not the ring leaders, but the foot soldiers, weren't useful idiots. With the emphasis on "idiot".

                    25. Brett, nothing I've said rules out "starkly insane". You're underestimating just how many starkly insane supporters Trump has.

                    26. Brett, that's so *yoooou* as the Riddler said in that Batman movie.

                      The President calls forth his fans, in bellicose language urges them to march on the certification. There is a rush on the capitol.

                      But it must be a conspiracy *from the other side* because that's not a good plan, it wouldn't have worked. So you're 'reasoning' is actually: since it's dumb that can't have been what's behind it.

                      People execute dumb plans all the time (they give 'dumb criminal' awards out for this all the time). You've little to no evidence to support your theory, just this faulty reasoning.

                    27. Krychek, I am only applying the standard you proposed. If you want to change your mind, I won't complain.

                    28. Kazinski, the elections that Republicans won in 2021 are reflections of deep voter disaffection with woke politics, not a sudden embrace of right-wing politics. 1/6 did not help those Republican candidates, and almost certainly hurt them. It just hurt Republicans less than Democrats' own-goals like false flag tiki torches or saying that parents should have no say in their kids' educations.

                      Which laws do you think were passed because of, rather than despite, 1/6?

                    29. Michael, and I’m asking you how Pelosi and the FBI were connected to it. You should be able to answer a simple question.

                2. The Brooks Brothers Riot led by Kavanaugh helped Bush steal the election in 2000. Bush then successfully lied us into a war to slaughter hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims all the while selling us out the China.

                  1. All the Brooks Brother Riot did was persuade the Palm Beach elections officials that they weren't going to get away with counting the votes out of sight of the elections observers, the attempt to do which had triggered it.

                    They then decided that if they couldn't count without people watching, there wasn't a point in counting, which is pretty telling if you could be bothered to think about it.

                    1. Either you support recounts or you don’t. I support candidates like Trump and Gore being able to request recounts. Kavanaugh helped Bush steal an election and you got your wars to slaughter innocent Muslims and the sanctity of marriage remained between one man with one pee pee and one of woman with one wee wee!

                3. Oh fuck off with your Reichstag fire nonsense.

                  It's utterly idiotic, for reasons that have been pointed out to you many times.

                  Among other things, why didn't Trump immediately call for the insurrectionists to leave, rather than sitting back and enjoying the show and then telling them how much he loved them? Yeah. Sure sounds lie what he'd do if he didn't like it.

                  So it made him look bad? What does that prove? That the insurrection failed, that's all. The best laid plans, etc.

                  This idea is one of your most deranged yet.

                4. The Jan 6th riot did nothing productive from Trump's standpoint, and never had any chance of doing so.

                  Once again: the point was to delay the official certification of the EC vote, so that they could buy time to get GOP swing state legislatures to throw out the election results.

                5. Stupid, inept putsch attempts are hardly new. The 1923 Munich beer haul putsch was a similarly stupid, inept putsch attempt that arguably benefitted the Weimar democrats far more than the nationalists.

                  Yet its perpetrators learned from their mistakes and within a decade overthrew the Weimar Republic successfully. Soon after that all the democrats who had stood in their way were imprisoned, murdered, fled, or put into “protective custody.”

              2. Perhaps I was not clear enough in describing my theory of culpability. Allow me to elaborate.

                The January 6 certification of the electoral votes was an official proceeding before Congress within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. 1512(c)(2). That statute makes it a crime to corruptly obstruct, influence, or impede an official proceeding or to attempt to do so. Section 1512(k) prohibits conspiring to do so.

                Donald Trump, John Eastman and others combined and conspired to corruptly influence Mike Pence to flagrantly disregard the procedures specified by 3 U.S.C. 15 and to unilaterally reject several states´ electoral votes. Pence had no authority to do that. There was an overt attempt to influence Pence made on January 4. Many details of the plan are set forth in a complaint with the State Bar of California seeking an investigation into professional discipline of Professor Eastman.

                The underlying factual premise of the unlawful entreaties to Pence was a palpable falsehood, which posited the existence of competing slates of electors from several states. The elaborate ¨Stop the Steal¨ campaign was a lie from topside to bottom. The attempt to influence Pence was to obtain a benefit to which Trump was not lawfully entitled -- a second term in office.

                When Pence resisted the unlawful endeavor, Trump and others ginned up the crowd at the Ellipse on January 6, based on the ¨Stop the Steal¨ lies, to march to the Capitol and demonstrate. This was part and parcel of the effort to obstruct, influence, and impede the proceeding before Congress. Trump´s speech arguably did not rise to the level of inciting or producing imminent lawless action, see, Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444, 447 (1969), but it is strong evidence of a corrupt purpose. Likewise, Trump´s inaction for hours after the breach of the Capitol evinces reckless indifference to the safety of Vice-president Pence and the members of Congress -- further evidence of corrupt purpose.

                1. 1. On November 3, 2020, Joe Biden was elected president.

                  2. Donald Trump then spent months promoting lawsuits and other efforts designed to overturn the 2020 election, which he claimed Democrats had stolen. Fox News and the entire conservative press helped him along eagerly.

                  3. Nothing worked, so as a last ditch effort Trump tried to compel VP Mike Pence to renounce his constitutional duty to certify the electoral vote.

                  4. Pence did his best to figure out a way to comply, but in the end he couldn't quite do it.

                  5. On January 6, the day the electoral vote was scheduled to be certified in Congress, Trump speaks to a rally of protesters.

                  6. After he leaves, a mob begins to attack the Capitol building, hoping to stop Pence from certifying the electoral vote and thereby keeping Trump in office.

                  7. A few minutes later Trump sends out a tweet.
                  Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!

                  8. For the rest of the day, despite relentless urging from family and aides, Trump refuses to make any kind of public statement asking the mob to stand down.

                  9. In the immediate aftermath, Republicans denounce both Trump and the mob. However, as time goes by their criticism wanes. Today, most of them pretend that it was no big deal.

                  10. Two-thirds of Republican voters think Democrats stole the election in the first place, meaning Jan 06 was justified. Fox News and the others continue to promote this idea.

                  If this happened in any other country, it would be called both an attempted insurrection and an attempted coup

                  1. "If this happened in any other country, it would be called both an attempted insurrection and an attempted coup"
                    However, only in the US was Jan 6 called an insurrection or now coup attempt. In other countries news media saw this as just a riot.

                    And what would you call Nancy Pelosi's telephone call to the Chairman of the Joint Chief urging him to take power over orders of POTUS. That is not exactly democracy either.

                    1. If she thought he was inciting an insurrection?

                    2. No, it's not exactly ideal, and at first I thought it was bad policy.

                      But I think the concern that Trump would go off and try and nuke France was a real one and keeping our arsenal on a hair trigger is a policy like 20 years out of date.

                    3. And what would you call Nancy Pelosi's telephone call to the Chairman of the Joint Chief urging him to take power over orders of POTUS. That is not exactly democracy either.

                      The only thing that I think this could be referring to is Pelosi's call to Milley after Trump's coup attempt seeking reassurance that a lame duck soon-to-be-impeached president could not start a nuclear war.

                  2. Jesus Christ, Gaslighto, you can't even make it one sentence without being fundamentally wrong.

                    1. Bold move to believe the Big Lie, and be dumb enough to admit it.

                    2. No presidential candidate was elected on November 3rd, only electors for them. Welcome to America, we have a Constitution that describes how this works.

                    3. Not buying your pedantry. The election occurred on November 3rd, and Biden was elected.

                      This is how everyone talks and thinks about Presidential elections. Your technicalities are silly nonsense.

                2. I differentiate Bush pressuring CIA interrogators to torture detainees in order to elicit false confessions tying Saddam to 9/11 and Trump’s bribe attempt of Zelensky as impeachable offenses because what they were asking people to do was unlawful and unAmerican. I don’t see Trump’s behavior as inherently unlawful with respect to January 6th in large part because the Electoral College is so asinine and we don’t elect presidents by popular will.

                  1. The question is whether Trump´s conduct with regard to the January 6 proceeding before Congress, in light of all the circumstances, violated applicable criminal statutes. There is a compelling case that it did.

                    1. Then let Garland stop dragging his feet and prosecute

                    2. Of course.

          1. Good lord, Michael P, you used to say cogent things. Now you just sound like a brietbart transplant

        2. You mean the guys who approved that part in the Constitution, lets me, 2d, no, 5th uhuh, 10th, nope, oh yeah, the FIRST Amendment, almost like it was important or something..

          or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

          OK, maybe my idea of "Peaceably" isn't the same of yours, but T. Jefferson's been dead awhile


        3. wonder if they are going to pursue any of the folks who burned down and looted last summer.

      2. Huh. A right-wing ideologue who also supports the UN and the International Court of Justice interfering in American affairs. An interesting combination.

        1. And of course in other contexts they'd be the first to deride Human Rights and the ICC.

    2. He's signalling to the Democratic base without committing himself to any controversial action.

  2. Mike Lindell has filed suit in federal district court in Minnesota seeking to block production of his cell phone records in response to a subpoena issued by the House of Representatives January 6 committee.

    The unsworn complaint is light on facts but heavy on conclusory assertions. I hope that he gets a speedy evidentiary hearing (even though he curiously does not request a preliminary injunction). Cross-examining a buffoon like Lindell is about as much fun as a lawyer can have with clothes on.

    1. Meh, George W Bush stole an election and lied us into a war all the while selling us out to China…$5 trillion down the toilet to slaughter some random Muslims.

      1. Oh that wore Sleepy Joe, Hilary Rodman, and Lurch Kerry voted for?(OK, Lurch voted for it, before he was against it)

      2. If there was ever a Big Lie, right there is one.

        1. Bush's "weapons of mass destruction" lie that got us into Iraq? Yes Jimmy, that was a big one.

          1. Bush-Stole-Election is a pretty Big Lie.

          2. Sarin was found in Iraq, a "WMD" in my book (inhale some if you don't agree, after taking your pyridostigmine, and pretreating with your Atropine and 2-Pam-Chloride of course.

            1. Pathetic. W certainly didn't rely on that weak claim, he actually conceded he was wrong about the WMD's thought relevant. The question is: why are you pathetically still pedaling it?

      3. SC,
        You continue with that Bush-Gore delusion, even though it is demonstrably false. Give it up and move on.
        Even the lied us into war is a falsehood.
        Bush et al. were dead wrong about Iraq and made the most stupid error by a president in my lifetime, but they actually believe their story.
        The $5 T is a bit of an exaggeration; I would have said $3T, but your ballpark is correct

        1. $5 trillion is a low ball. It’s $5 trillion because Obama would never have invaded Afghanistan he just inherited a huge mess on multiple fronts and he decided to keep Gates as DefSec in order to focus on domestic issues. A nuke is a WMD and the Bush administration has said the nuclear remarks in the 2003 SOTU were incorrect which is as close to an admission of a lie as you will get. Furthermore the PNAC stuff shows the Bush foreign policy advisers wanted to invade Iraq long before 9/11. They wanted to invade Iraq because of oil and to help Israel and because they wanted to use the American military to do things they thought would make the world a better place. Why they went to war with the Taliban is beyond me especially after Iraq was seen as a mistake—I guess it has to do with the “Concorde Fallacy” in which they started making decisions based on sunk costs.

          1. "I guess it has to do with the “Concorde Fallacy” in which they started making decisions based on sunk costs."
            I always instruct the students in my management class. Sunk costs are irrelevant to deciding about future expenditures.

    2. "Cross-examining a buffoon like Lindell is about as much fun as a lawyer can have with clothes on."

      Lawyers are sadistic? Or just you?

      1. Lawyers are sadistic?

        Clearly not all. But there's a healthy cross-section that have the same sort of god complex as doctors but were to squeamish to go to med school.

  3. It'll be interesting to see to what extent the MSM backs Sean Hannity in fighting his subpoena as a journalist being asked to divulge conversations with his sources. My guess is that he fights and loses, setting a precedent other journalists won't like.

    1. Has there been a subpoena issued? I thought there was merely a request for voluntary appearance.

      1. It also looks like he's being asked about stuff he said on the 6th, not to divulge sources.

        1. I am an unlikely person to comment on this subject at this blog (because I have been a journalist and have represented journalists), but this case evokes a journalist who witnesses a car crash, a murder, or a shipwreck. Even if the incident were to occur during a journalist's interaction with a source, it is difficult to envision a legal position that would enable the journalist to avoid provision of evidence with respect to the observed incident (perhaps with measures designed to prevent revelation of the source's identity if not already known).

      2. Fair 'nuff, potential subpoena.

        1. If a subpoena were issued, Hannity would not have a First Amendment privilege to avoid testifying about events in which he participated and personally observed. See, Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665 (1972).

    2. Do you really believe he was acting in his capacity as a “journalist” in this context and not as a “well-known informal presidential advisor who also plays at a sort of journalism”? Or are you just trying to give Brett a run for his money?

    3. "It'll be interesting to see to what extent the MSM backs Sean Hannity"

      I can give you the answer.

      They won't back him in any way.

      1. just wait, he'll hire 2 Nigerians to beat him up and put a noose around his neck.

          1. Go break some color barriers, Amal.

            1. Way to own it.

  4. It appears that Donald Trump and his adult children Ivanka and Donald Jr. regard compliance with duly issued subpoenas to be optional.

    I understand the concern about there being a parallel criminal investigation going on. The solution seems simple. Appear in response to the civil subpoenas. Assert the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in response to every question. Go home.

    1. Presumably the subpoena was issued for the purpose of causing public embarrassment by making them plead the Fifth.

      1. That presupposes that the Trump crowd is capable of embarrassment.

        1. All your have is mind-reading. It's mind-reading all the way down.

          1. No need for mind reading. The parallel criminal investigation is legitimate cause for concern. Hence the need to assert the applicable privilege, which is available in civil proceedings.

            The motion to quash the subpoenas is an unwarranted stall for time. There is no privilege not to appear pursuant to subpoena.

            1. True, you show up, and then assert your 5th amendment privilege when questioned. But you've got to show up.

              1. Says Who(m)? Power to issue Subpoenas rests with the County Sherriff, pretty sure I read that some where.

                1. You should probably eschew getting your legal training from Gab or Parler.

                  1. got my degree the same way "Honest"(at least in discussing his opinions of African Amuricans) Abe did, "Reading the Law". Seems Amurica had some pretty good Lawyers with that system. (whatever School Merrick "the Elephant Man" Garlan went to should get the Carthage treatment (google that Shi*) I know it's Hah-Vud, Yale (Probably Hah-vud) Mitch The Turtle should be on Rushmore from keeping that Gau-leiter off the Surpremes.

                    1. "got my degree the same way "Honest"(at least in discussing his opinions of African Amuricans) Abe did, "Reading the Law"."

                      Whose wife are you?

                    2. Hey look at you. You were able to find and use pejoratives for all them people

                2. " Says Who(m)? Power to issue Subpoenas rests with the County Sherriff, pretty sure I read that some where. "

                  Is that (1) a Liberty, Regent, Ave Maria, or Chapman law degree talking; (2) something you think you remember from a discount homeschooling outline; or (3) regurgitation of something from Hannity, Ingraham, or Carlson last night?

                  Carry on, you illiterate, bigoted, obsolete clinger.

              2. Maybe = But you've got to show up

                I guess I would say it this way. If I get a subpoena from a judge, I cannot ignore that. I am showing up. If I get a subpoena from a legislative branch, I would definitely look at that differently. I may or may not show up (but probably would out of respect for the civic institution), depending on who issued it and why.

                1. To be clear--in this case we're talking about a subpoena from the New York Attorney General. So not a judge, exactly, but a pretty regular part of the legal discovery process by the part of the government normally responsible for such things.

                  1. Yeah, I am showing up for the AG....100%. It is suicidal not to.

                2. It is well established law that the legislative branch can issue binding subpoenas. Mind, if the executive branch at the time is of a different party, they'll often refuse to act on the referral for prosecution if you stand them up.

                  But during the Teapot Dome scandal Congress had the Sergeant at Arms enforce such subpoenas, and it was upheld. Congress even had their own jail cell in the basement, probably used for janitorial storage at this point.

    2. Demonrats continue to make strong cases for the abolition of all forms of government employee immunity. Once again, Republicans are probably going to be the abolitionists.

      1. Who is talking about immunity in the New York investigation?

        1. Prosecutors only pursue this kind of political persecution because they are immune from civil suit over abusive practices. Please do keep up.

          1. Who is talking about abolishing prosecutorial immunity?

            1. Sane people. How many prosecutors do the job according to the job description, rather than according to (usually quite overt) policy biases, partisan biases and/or career considerations?

              Just look at all the ones who have been deciding to not prosecute large swaths of crimes, or dismiss charges against the rioters they like, or pile on questionable charges under overbroad laws -- or threaten family and friends of defendants -- to coerce plea deals. Whether prosecutors are elected or appointed, local or state or federal, far too often they end up abusing our justice system for either their own goals or those of their bosses.

              1. You want to sue prosecutors for not bringing a prosecution? Wild! I thought prosecutorial discretion _was_ part of the job description.

                Similarly I don't think you can blame prosecutors for taking advantage of overbroad laws and plea-bargains. I agree those are problems, but in the end the legislature and judiciary need to solve them. Prosecutors are _supposed_ to be biased against the criminals.

                Prosecutors already don't have immunity against extracurricular activities like issuing threats.

                I would like to fix the cozy relationship between prosecutors and police which ends up giving the police a de facto additional layer of immunity. But probably not by making it illegal for a prosecutor to decline to charge a police officer.

                1. We get it, you want prosecutors to have absolute discretion about who to prosecute, who to jail, how long to jail them for. Unfortunately for you, our Constitution recognizes two other branches of government. Prosecutors are not also judges, juries and executioners.

                  1. Prosecutors still seem to be dealing with judges and juries a lot, for all your concern about replacing them.

                    1. Which means that if you're too obviously innocent they can only ruin you financially, I suppose.

                    2. Do you want their discretion taken away?
                      And given to whom?

                      This is just looking for more speculative victimization. Even as the same group calls for being tougher on crime.

                      Just yet more special pleading and calls for a more spiteful government, but only against those other guys.

                      Outsiders all must comply. But for insiders requiring compliance is persecution.

                    3. I wouldn't mind leaving them discretion, if it were subject to review and sanctions if abused.

                      I've often suggested that juries should have 3 options for verdicts, not two: Guilty, innocent, and prosecutorial misconduct. That the jury should be permitted to find the prosecution unreasonable, not just mistaken.

                    4. You want juries evaluating prosecutors?!

                      Think of how that would have worked in the Jim Crow South. Juries as a shield are fine, but giving the lay populous a metaphorical knife is not a great idea.

                      Defensive prosecution seems like it'd be as invidious as defensive medicine.

                    5. I wouldn't mind leaving them discretion, if it were subject to review and sanctions if abused.

                      I've often suggested that juries should have 3 options for verdicts, not two: Guilty, innocent, and prosecutorial misconduct. That the jury should be permitted to find the prosecution unreasonable, not just mistaken.

                      Is your first sentence supposed to be connected to your second one?

                      And how would trial practice work in your system. Would the defendant have to raise it? (If so, why would they intentionally subject themselves to a harder case?) Would the prosecutor be able to introduce evidence—which would typically be inadmissible and almost certainly be prejudicial to the defendant—to try to show why their actions were appropriate?

                    6. "You want juries evaluating prosecutors?!"

                      That's what I said, alright. I want juries to be able to say, "This prosecution should never have been brought!"

                      And for it to have TEETH at some point, if the prosecutor pisses off enough juries. Maybe you get 2 strikes for free, and on the third are involuntarily retired.

                      I want the prosecutor, too, to have some skin in the game, to the point where he has to think twice about bringing charges he can't persuade a jury were reasonable.

                  2. Yeah Michael, that's basically right. I expect prosecutors to push as hard as they want on their side of the adversarial process. I certainly don't expect prosecutors to be the ones balancing the scales of justice. Like you said, that's what the other two branches (especially judicial) are for.

                    It seems like you think that prosecutors have too much power and that the legislature and judicial branches are unable to compete. In other words, you think that the Constitution isn't working, and we need to give some of the judicial decision-making responsibility to the executive (so that prosecutors can be sued for abuse of that responsibility). Well, that's dangerous and wrong and un-American of course.

                    1. If you think allowing citizens to sue abusive prosecutors would "give some of the judicial decision-making responsibility to the executive" then you are even more unhinged than I suspected.

                    2. If you can sue for abuse of power, that implies power.

                  3. Just a few things to remember today.
                    A significant number of alleged rioters were left in solitary confinement for many weeks without charges being brought. It was the DOJ that made this event into a human rights debacle worthy of Chairman Xi.
                    It was Nancy Pelosi who called the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to urge him to disobey the Commander-in-Chief.
                    American democracy is not in more damnger today than it was one year ago. That is a partisan troll.

                    1. Illegal orders are not to be obeyed.

                    2. Nice excuse for the Speaker.
                      And what order was that Randal?
                      Nancy was urging the Chairman to seize power.
                      And he did not need her to tell him his duty as a general officer.

                    3. Nancy was urging the Chairman to seize power.

                      Nonaction is a weird way to seize power.

                      What would you do if you had concerns the President might abuse the military chain of command to do something horrific? I am not so rulebound I don't think it's worth having a discussion.

                    4. American democracy is not in more damnger today than it was one year ago. That is a partisan troll.

                      I think you are mistaken, Don. Seriously mistaken. JFTR.

                    5. S-0,
                      What I would not do is make a call to urge a military coup d'etat.
                      Why is it so hard to admit that any such call, especially by someone in the line of succession is out of order.
                      Not obeying an illegal order is an affirmation defense; the general knew all about that early in his career.

                    6. So you think there is no recourse when a President is off his rocker and abuses his position as Commander in Chief?

                      I'm a big fan of following procedure, but I'm not a slave to it.

                      It's not hard to admit - my initial position was that it was out of order. But I've changed my mind; following proper protocol until the nukes fly is not worth it.

                      Procedures are a means to an end. Oftentimes the ends come from the internal controls procedures create.
                      But in this case the ends here would not be desirable, and the internal controls were maintained, in the end.
                      There was no actual change to the balance of power and civilian control of the military; Trump's successor's authority in this area is unchanged.
                      Your outrage is myopic - it ignores the reality of the situation.

                    7. A significant number of alleged rioters were left in solitary confinement for many weeks without charges being brought.


                    8. S-0,
                      If you are thinking that a military coup is the answer than i have a fundamental disagreement with you.
                      I also know that U.S. general officers have a keen understanding of their obligations and duties to the country.
                      Nancy's call was out of line.

                    9. I don't get what was out of line about it. Maybe she didn't have as keen of an understanding of the CJCS's duties and obligations as the CJCS did, and so she called and got reassured that yes, procedures are in place to cancel illegal orders before they're carried out. I don't see any harm in Pelosi wanting to know how such a situation would play out.

                    10. I reiterate what you're ad about does not count as a coup in any functional sense.

                    11. S_O,
                      The Orange Clown is an asshole. But "off his rocker? I did not know that you are a trained psychiatrist.
                      You are making excuses for the Speaker encouraging a military coup in certain circumstances. Clearly you have no idea of how damaging that would be to American democracy. Trump, never came close to, or showed any inclination whatsoever to the behavior for which you would condone a military coup.

                      As for the "increasing dangers to American democracy," that certainly is a partisan troll even if 98% of D's in power say it.

                    12. S_O,
                      I did not say it was a coup.
                      I said that it was encouraging a coup. If the Speaker were in the military chain of command, it could easily be seen as mutiny.
                      Nancy did not need reassurances, Randal. She is no as stupid as you make her out to be. She was encouraging disobedience to POTUs, supposedly out of a fear completely spun out of her head.

                      If you are so concerned about American democracy, you don't give anyone, left or right, a pass.

                    13. I disagree that she was encouraging disobedience to POTUS... except insofar as POTUS were to take an illegal action, in which case disobedience would be legal and in fact imperative.

                      Maybe you have a different impression of what the call was about, but my understanding is that it was limited to a discussion of the ramifications of an illegal order. No coup, or even coup-couragement in that.

              2. Stop making sense!!

      2. "Demonrats "

        This is your mind on Trump.

    3. A very fair suggestion.

  5. I wonder where now with Covid?

    Covid is running rampant worldwide, the US the infection rate increased 89% in a week, yet we are only ranked 96th on that measure in the world rankings.

    In terms of cases per 100k per week, we are at 123, ranked 36th, while Australia that was largely unscathed is now at 104, but going up 254% a week.

    It's clear vaccines as a preventative measure have failed, there is no possible way to explain rates that are more than double the peak last year, with the peak this year, when our vaccination rate last year was 1%.

    And it isn't lack of restrictions or vaccine hesitancy that's causing the spike. NY has 150% more cases while having a marginally, but not dramatically higher vaccination rates.

    But the good news is death rates are flat, both in the US and worldwide.

    But I think it's apparent that that's because the weak virulence of Omnicron, rather than any protection from vaccines, lockdowns or masks.

    I think it's time for people to quit pretending they have a solution, do what works for you, and let everyone else figure out their own solution for riding this out.

    Easy for me to say though, I just finished my bout with Covid, it was like a bad cold like I've had a dozens of times before, but it does seem to resolve a little faster on the tail end.

    1. This is the only thing you want to talk about every week. Blah blah blah vaccines obviously failed because they aren't 100% effective at stopping infection blah blah blah. It was nonsense last week and the week before. It's still nonsense. If we went back in time and decided not to create the vaccines, the situation today would be... relatively unpleasant.

      1. It’s not topical? It’s not affecting people’s lives?

        I think there is a lot to talk about, like the CDC saying that post infection testing doesn’t give useful information about whether someone is still infectious.

        I can see being tired of the topic, we all are. But I wonder if it’s also that the people who had all the answers want to stop the conversation now that is apparent their answers don’t work anymore.

        1. You have the same thesis every time, and despite people engaging with you and explaining how reductive you're being, you come right back with the exact same thing the next day.

          There's a lot to talk about, but all evidence is you don't want to talk about that stuff.

          1. Well tell me how well the CDC’s approach is working again.

            The most successful strategy has been Australia and New Zealand’s “On The Beach” strategy: be isolated and remote enough that it hits you last. But even then covid will triumph end the end.

            1. Why bother waiting - you seem to have the answer you want right now, and don't seem to be easily dissuaded from it.

            2. Kaz,
              Check Australia again, they have a covid-catastrophe on there hands.

              1. Yeah, I saw that my sister in law lives there, they had to flee Melbourne about a year ago because the lockdowns were making it unlivable.

                They're cases are up 254% in a week, but their rate per 100k per week is a little lower than ours is now, but 104 per 100k per week is still very high and would have been a record here until the last week or so.

                1. Best wishes for your family, Kaz. The situation is pretty scary their.

      2. Many places, like Ontario (, are currently showing higher infection rates in vaccinated people than unvaccinated. Literally negative efficacy is not just “not 100% effective.” You’re lying by omission.

        1. "Due to technical difficulties, the case rate by vaccination status by age group is not available"

          You sure you weren't talking absolute numbers, and hitting that base rate fallacy?

          1. You sure you read slowly and deliberately enough to see the "by age group" part?

        2. You can't just compare rates like that and call it an efficacy. The two populations -- vaxxed and unvaxxed -- are very different. I suspect that vaxxed people are way more likely to both engage in risky behaviors and get tested than unvaxxed people. I know I am.

          It's like Trump (in)famously said: "When you test, you have a case."

          1. I suspect that vaxxed people are way more likely to both engage in risky behaviors and get tested than unvaxxed people.

            And I suspect any imbalance there is dramatically outweighed by the deliberate steering of testing toward unvaccinated people (e.g., companies that mandate either vaccination or periodic testing, cities that require proof of either vaccination or a negative test to enter businesses, the CDC's guidance that vaccinated people can refrain from routine screening testing, etc.)

            1. Very possibly. I have no idea what's going on in Ontario. Still, the fact is that the two populations are different. It doesn't matter how.

              So speculate all you want, but you can't conclude much about vaccine efficacy without controlling for those differences.

        3. Something's bogus with that data.

          @Sarc, scroll down to the graph labeled 'COVID-19 cases by vaccination status'. If it isn't selected by default, click 'Rate per 100,000 (7-day average)'.

          The default 'All ages' graph does show that the 'fully vaxxed' rate climbed past unvaxxed just before Xmas. But if you click through all the other age groups, none of them show that - unvaxxed rate is always higher - usually a lot higher - than unvaxxed. Either the 'all ages' graph is wrong, or one or more of the age subgroup graphs is.

          1. Which could be explained if "is not available" means "the data isn't available, but instead of presenting no graphs for that, we're providing random numbers in those graphs". That would be odd, but you never know.

    2. Da Coof, we’re all going to get it, there is nothing that one can do to prevent infection. Prepare for it, weathering it, and becoming immune. Natural immunity is better and works.

      Omicron variant is a result of the Mueller Paradox, a disease must evolve to less, insignificant virulence. If it evolves higher and kills its vectors then it disappears; see Ebola (persisting only in wild tolerant bush meat animals).

      Love the Bowlderisms of variant Omicron; first anagram moronic, and now above Omnicron.

      I believe that I recovered from da Coof in spring of 2019, and that testing is rationed to keep the fearful fearful. We are 73 and 83 and very healthy.

      1. "Natural immunity is better and works."

        But it doesn't lead to massive political campaign contributions from pharma companies, does it?

    3. Here's something to think about. Let's assume you're right that Omicron is both mild and resistant to the vaccine. (Personally I suspect each of those statements is at least partially true compared to the other variants, but I have no idea to what extent.)

      Well then... hooray for the vaccines! They're keeping the deadlier Delta and other variants at bay, allowing the weaker Omicron to take over. We should be so lucky as to have all cases be Omicron cases if it's less severe, and we can thank the vaccines for making it happen.

      1. Well we agree on something, I think it is clear from the data that the vaccines were effective against the earlier strains and that saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

        But right now the CDC says 95% of US infections are Omnicron. If, as it appears to me, Omnicron is about as lethal as the flu, or less, it just doesn’t seem rational to continue the same strategies that might have been reasonable against the earlier strains.

        1. The if is not yet established; that's the rub.

          1. S_0,
            Looking world wide, I find that the Omicron surges are producing fatality rates of about 0.3%. Two to three times that of seasonal influenza

            1. We have some weeks yet before the data is clean enough I'd trust it.

              My work has be back full time teleworking, which I hate; I hope this clears up. But right now we don't know.

              1. S_O,
                I don't know what you would need to see. The raw data are subject to very straight forward analysis unless you are expecting to derive some functional dependence. The are countries in which Omicron has come and gone. They allow you to say quite a lot both the gross features. That is all that I have described.
                That I doubt is possible. It is also very difficult to quantitatively control for confounding factors as one cannot run Monte Carlo simulations to make accurate estimate of such effects. People have theories about recursions of infections in time and space. Some of these are suggestive, but none can model the broad range of actual country histories.

                1. I see now there is a post on Reason's main page that says the vaccinated are 5x less likely to be hospitalized than the unvaccinated due to Omnicron.

                  Hard to say if that means they are getting Omnicron at a lower rate thus fewer hospitalizations, or they are getting less sick at the same rates of infection.

                  But that's good news.

                  1. The multiplier varies place to place, but it is consistent with that hospitalizations are a few times less than the number of infections. However in countries where the vaccination rate approaches 80% of the total population that %x seems rather high

                2. Death rates. We have like 2 weeks of data, and that's not enough to see what final outcomes will look like.

                  1. S_0,
                    If you look beyond the tip of your nose, we have data from billions of people who have been through at least 4 to 5 weeks of Omicron

                    1. Come on, you and I both know data is not especially comparable between countries.

                  2. Come on S_0. You know that SARS-CoV-2 knows nothing about national borders. You're making an excuse for your being unaware of global statistics and their variation with national conditions. Just admit when you're not well informed.

                    1. No, but data collection knows about national borders.

        2. So then what are you worried about? It sounds like you think the vaccines are doing a great job eradicating (the harmful strains of) covid.

          Is your thesis that the harmful strains are essentially gone, so we can stop vaccinating? I feel like that's a stretch, but maybe. But then your presentation is totally askew. Instead of saying the vaccines failed, you should be celebrating their success. The dream of every vaccine is to render itself unnecessary.

          1. Irrational things we continue...

            * Vaccine firings
            * 10 day quarantines
            * Cloth masking
            * Travel restrictions
            * Outdoor only eating

          2. Actually I think what I’ve always felt, vaccines are fine. Encourage them and let people make their own decisions.

            But it’s pretty hard to think it makes any difference at this point, because there seems to be no correlation between how hard covid is hitting highly vaccinated countries and minimally vaccinated, or what vaccines they use.

            1. Here we go, back into your little circle.

            2. "no correlation between how hard covid is hitting highly vaccinated countries and minimally vaccinated, or what vaccines they use."
              Not exactly true Kazinski.
              While at this point one sees only a flat (in your words) no correlation between vax rates and viral reproduction rates. One cannot distinguish that observation of a linear relationship to the quadratic relationship that you might have observed pre-Omincron in which Ro decreased as vaccination rates increased beyond 50%, but is now confounded by a much more infectious strain since mid-November.
              What is extremely clear is a strong negative correlation between vaccination rates and case fatality rates

              1. I'll leave the math to you.

                But my theory is the vaccines are effective against the older more virulent strains, where it keeps the death rate lower because much fewer are effected, but provides little or no protection for Omnicron, where the death rate is so low it's not going to move the needle much even with a lot more infections.

                If antibody based therapies don't work against Omnicron, it stands to reason vaccine antibodies don't effect it much either.

          3. Evolution is eradicating the harmful strains of covid, if anything vaccines are helping them to stick around a tiny bit longer by allowing the carriers to survive and infect more people before fully recovering

            1. Well, that may be, but don’t denigrate the original premise of slowing the spread so it doesn’t just all hit at once.

              Somehow though, long after the vaccines were fully rolled out to the vulnerable, large parts of the population have natural immunity, people are still acting like we are in the early stages of vaccine rollout, when we are reaching vaccine saturation.

              And they asking what’s changed about the covid situation worth talking about when the number of daily cases has doubled in a week, and tripled in 2 weeks, with no change in the number of deaths. If that isn’t a dramatic change I don’t know what is.

            2. Something similar occured to me a few days ago. That there's evolutionary pressure to evolve to be less harmful, as that gets less of a trillion dollar fight from humanity, and hence less blocking.

            3. Nice hope Kevin BUT you don't KNOW that and neither do virologists.
              It is not an unlikely scenario but one that could take dozens of more mutations to reach.
              The difficulty with complex systems and their interactions is that emergent properties are difficult to predict.

        3. The preliminary data on Omicron's lethality suggests that, while it is less lethal for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, it is only slightly less lethal for unvaccinated people, while vaccinated people are substantially protected from hospitalization and death.

          So, the "Omicron is milder" line is potentially putting more unvaccinated people at risk than intended - even if it is apparently true, overall.

      2. "Well then... hooray for the vaccines! They're keeping the deadlier Delta and other variants at bay"

        Eh, I look at the numbers, and I see that there have been four peaks so far, and the first one ended before the vaccine was available, and the second before it had much population penetration.

        I think we're looking at a seasonal virus here, that peaks in summer due to people congregating indoors to avoid the summer heat, and peaks in the winter due to people congregating indoors to avoid the cold. Maybe we should put more work into improving indoor air quality.

        1. "I think we're looking at a seasonal virus here, that peaks in summer"
          Just like it is doing in Europe where its winter, in Australia where it is summer and in Israel where the climate is temperate
          In addition, Omicron is not a derivative of Delta but of the wild Wuhan strain. Right now I would not bank on your rosy scenario.

      3. Omicron was going to become the dominant strain regardless, as others have mentioned its exactly the path you would expect an infectious organism to evolve along: becoming more transmissible and less deadly (remember delta itself is much less deadly than the original alpha variant)

        Vaccines played little to no role in "holding back" delta for omicron's dominance, just look at South Africa where omicron first emerged, it has a 25% vaccination rate

        1. Was Delta really that much less deadly? Or did hospitals learn techniques and get treatments that helped keep the mortality rate down? For example, with later waves, we had convalescent plasma, learned that turning patients on ventilators helped, and probably figured out which anti-virals had the greatest success.

          The mere fact that there were lower fatality rates doesn't necessarily mean that it was due exclusively to lower virulence.

          1. But the CDC/FDA has withdrawn from the treatment options Regeneron’s antibody cocktail which was the most successful treatment, because it is not effective against Omnicron.

            1. And did it when Delta was still the predominant strain, too!

          2. "Or did hospitals learn techniques and get treatments that helped keep the mortality rate down?"
            Your conjecture is why fatality rates declined markedly in the first half of 2020, but is is hardly the case today or through Alpha, Gamma, and Delta

        2. Kevin,
          The flaw in you argument is that Omicron is a derivative of the wild, Wuhan strain, not the n-th in a string of mutations from other VoCs.

      4. "I suspect each of those statements is at least partially true compared to the other variants, but I have no idea to what extent."
        A look over 50 countries that have seen omicron surges substantiate that,
        the case fatality rate has gone down, usually markedly, and second that breakthrough infections are minimally hindered by booster campaigns.
        Botom line: They are true to a great extent.

    4. It's clear vaccines as a preventative measure have failed, there is no possible way to explain rates that are more than double the peak last year, with the peak this year, when our vaccination rate last year was 1%.
      But I think it's apparent that that's because the weak virulence of Omnicron, rather than any protection from vaccines, lockdowns or masks.

      Depends on what you're trying to prevent. Vaccines were to prevent several things: sickness, hospitalizations, and death. With the new variant, it's less effective on all of those (particularly sickness) than with other variants. But it's still pretty damn effective at the later two, as shown by relative rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated.

      Easy for me to say though, I just finished my bout with Covid, it was like a bad cold like I've had a dozens of times before, but it does seem to resolve a little faster on the tail end.

      Glad to hear you're recovering. But this doesn't seem like it will be very comforting to my friend who lost his anti-vax mother to Covid over the weekend. Or my assistant, who recently learned her cousin passed away from Covid as well. We all have our anecdotes.

      1. The death rate for Omnicron is so low even in countries with very low vaccination rates that’s it’s hard to give the vaccines any credit for lowering the death rate in this latest wave.

        1. In fact the case fatality rate in South Africa dropped from 2% before to 0.3% even though only 26 % of the population is vaccinated.

      2. "But it's still pretty damn effective at the later two, as shown by relative rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated."
        Looking across the world at rates in countries with vaccination rates exceeding 70% of total population, that statement if far from well established.
        Yes, total cases have been a few to several times higher than hospitalizations, but those have also increased by 4x to 5x.

    5. I was going to say, substitute "Cold/Flu" for "Covid" in your (long, Jeez, does Covid cause people to lose the sense of brevity?) statement and read it again. Except People don't usually bore you to death talking about their cold .

    6. "there is no possible way to explain rates"
      Of course there is.
      1) Omicron is several times more contagious than Alpha, Gamma, or Delta. 2) The very large number of mutations in this strain make immune evasion much easier than for the other variants of concern. 3) Many double vaxxed Americans received their last shot more than 6 months ago and their level of immune protection is greatly weakened.

      You are correct that Omicron is much less virulent. The case fatality rate has fallen everywhere there has been an omincron wave.

      Viral evolution and human immunity form a complex system with unpredictable emergent phenomena. Don't get to cockky about your chances for a more severe infection

      1. I hope that as it considers vaccine mandates, the Supreme Court does so wisely. It will be deciding legal limits that will apply alike to defending against a virus as contagious as Omicron, and as deadly as smallpox. Please Justices, stay mindful.

        1. They don't need your advice for that.
          Their focus is the law not integrative medicine.

          1. Don Nico, despite unexamined assumptions so common among the lesser class of lawyers (alas, about 95% of the total, not excluding Justices), nobody can understand what a law means unless he/she also understands the activity the law purports to govern.

            1. I guess your comment also applies to newspapermen.
              But in fact the claim is patently false, now and since Hammurabi

              1. Nico, when I wrote that, I hesitated, thinking, "Maybe not, it comes pretty close to being a truism. Why waste folks' time with a truism?"

                Then I decided it was okay, because even though it really is a truism, so many people don't get it that someone ought to clue them in.

                So thanks for your confirmation that I did the right thing.

    7. But I think it's apparent that that's because the weak virulence of Omnicron, rather than any protection from vaccines, lockdowns or masks.

      No. There is a massive difference in hospitalization and death rates for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated.

  6. U.S. Marshals Arrest More Than 6,000 Murder Suspects in 2021, Over 84,000 Fugitives Apprehended

    "The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) arrested 84,247 fugitives (27,399 on federal and 56,848 on state and local warrants) in Fiscal Year 2021. On average, the agency arrested 337 fugitives per day (based on 250 operational days).

    That number breaks down as follows:

    Sex offenders - 10,510 (Sex offenses include sexual assault, failure to register/noncompliance with the national sex offender registry and other offenses.)
    Gang members - 6,240
    Homicide suspects - 6,119
    International/foreign fugitives - 1,239 (A foreign fugitive is wanted by a foreign nation and believed to be in the United States.)
    Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces Program (OCDETF) fugitives - 1,002 (OCDETF cases combine the resources and expertise of numerous federal agencies to target drug trafficking and money laundering organizations.)
    Adam Walsh Act violations – 278 (The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (AWA) categorized sex offenders into a three-tiered system based on the crime committed and requires offenders to maintain their registration information accordingly. For example, Tier 3 offenders – the most serious – must update their whereabouts every three months with lifetime registration requirements.)
    “15 Most Wanted” fugitives – 1

    Additionally, the USMS seized 7,028 guns during numerous violence reduction and counter gang operations in FY21."

    On one hand, the feds often take the heat for stupid decisions and actions (and rightly so); while on the other hand, they can do a lot of good things.

    The people arrested have been convicted or are suspected of committing some of the vilest crimes out there.

    1. apedad, I did that Pillsbury breakfast ring 3X over the holiday. What a WINNER!!! Thank you so much for the recipe.

      1. I made two; one with bacon and one with chorizo.

        And yup, they came out great.

        1. Oh man....I gotta do the chorizo. Let me see, next big holiday for me is...Valentine's day. I guess that means Mrs. Commenter XY is gonna be eating good that morning. 🙂

          Really...Thx again for the recipe. It was such a big hit. It kept the entire family at the breakfast table and we had such a great time just talking and eating over breakfast.

          apedad, it wasn't just the was the memory. I will remember it always.

    2. Considering the gop attempts several weeks/couple to turn the story of the feds confiscating huge amounts of opioids at the border into some slam against the administration, I will not be the least surprised when they attempt to make this a story about the wanton lust of democrats to Take All The Guns.

      1. …couple months ago…

  7. Since this is a legal blog, maybe the lawyers and law professors can chime in here. Many times, I read comments (serious and sarcastic) about the need/desire to 'follow the science'. Here is my question:

    What are the objective conditions necessary to challenge the scientific status quo? The example I would give for consideration is Galileo. He challenged the scientific status quo with objectively true data that upended the scientific consensus (at the time). He paid a heavy price for being right. Would you have defended Galileo in the face of certain punishment?

    Without devolving into politics and acrimony....from a legal perspective, what objective conditions have to be present for you personally to bring suit and formally challenge the scientific status quo. What is your personal 'legal red line'? Where do you say, 'this far and no further'?

    1. You want to challenge science with law? I don't think that works.

      Galileo challenged law with science. Religious law, but at the time it was the same thing (only worse). So I think you've got it backwards.

    2. Consensus is not science. From Karl Popper *The Logic of Scientific Discovery*, falsifiability is the boundary demarcation of science from nonsense. If it ain’t falsifiable, it ain’t science.

      E. T. Jaynes commanded eschew ad-hockery, ad hoc shoring up of weak arguments to prevent falsification. Make your assertion as best you can, and walk away, a success or a failure. Learn from failure.

      1. If it ain’t falsifiable, it ain’t science

        This ignores both descriptive and exploratory science. I like Popper, but the scientific method I learned in middle school turns out not to apply to all inquiry about the universe.

        1. Descriptive: This tribe is like this.

          Exploratory: We're going to poke the thing with this laser. No hypothesis on what'll happen, other than that it'll be something to see.

          1. Well I think science has a few definitions that get confused.

            But when they talk about “The Science”, and the “97% Consensus” in context of global warming, then it seems they are saying it’s no longer falsifiable. Yet it’s a lot less nailed down than other science that can explain what happens in the world and universe with infinitesimal degrees of precision. Current AGM theory and models can’t predict future temperature within standard error margins. While Newtonian physics, which has been supplanted for over a century can still be used to plot a comets orbit with incredible precision. Yet we also know that Special Relativity has some major holes in it, like quantum entanglement and gravitons.

            Yet there are prominent scientists arguing for bans on publishing anything that contradicts the consensus.

            1. “Can be falsifiable” != “has been falsified”

              1. Well first of all a climate model that can’t predict temperatures within standard error bars has falsified itself.

                Second when “scientific” journals refuse to even consider for publication articles that don’t conform to the “consensus”, it makes it harder to use standard methods of falsification.

                1. This is not what is meant by "falsifiable" in this context.

                  A falsifiable hypothesis is something the original author of the hypothesis creates as a means to test their theory. It is not the effort of people who disagree with a theory publishing their alternatives or even finding errors in a study or a model.

                  1. Thanks, Shawn, for explaining science to those who obviously have little idea what it actually is.

                    1. It may be that, but it certainly is not limited to that. And that certainly was not the framework of Popper concept of falsification.

                      Science is and always will be a collaborative effort, and you don't have to look far for asamy examples as you could wish for for scientists proposing a theory, and other scientists taking up the challenge to confirm their findings or debunk them.

                      NASA's EM drive was a great example of that dynamic.

                    2. I took Shawn to be disagreeing with your first statement.

                      "Well first of all a climate model that can’t predict temperatures within standard error bars has falsified itself."

                      Accepting the premise, the statement isn't true. Not technically and not for your purpose of suggesting there isn't broad, justified consensus that there is significant climate change that is directly attributable to human activity. Remember, Popper explicitly noted that there are various reasons experiments might apparently contradict a theory or be apparently anomalous.

                      Second, the premise is bunk.

                      And your follow-up has nothing to do with Popperian falsifiability, even assuming it is true. Scientists can conduct experiments and write papers and then can easily publish and distribute their results. Being accepted in any particular journal isn't what it once was. There's this thing called the internet. So truth will win out. Is it a problem of getting publicity if certain journals won't consider (as you allege) papers bucking the consensus? Sure. But it has nothing to do with falsifiability. Experiments and measurement either will or won't falsify a theory, getting published in a preferred journal has nothing to do with it. Ask Galileo.

          2. Sarcastr0, I am a huge fan of exploratory. Been doing a version of that for my entire employment life (do it, try it, fix it).

          3. Your exploratory example still has a descriptive goal: At the end you can say "poking this thing with a laser causes this phenomenon to occur." That result is falsifiable

            1. Sure, but if you allow post-hoc falsifiability, you can say the same thing about predictive models and your ding against global warming is lost.

              Which I'm fine with, but not sure if others here are.

            2. To put it another way, Adam Savage (of Mythbusters fame) said “The difference between screwing around and science is writing it down.”

              So, what you write down after conducting your exploratory science is descriptive science, if you decline to write anything down you're not doing science of any kind, you're just screwing around

              1. I like that.

                2 book recommendations in that vein:

                Laboratory Life, which is about how unscientific lab science can be (a sociologist embedded in a bio lab in the 1970s and found some stuff)

                Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, which talks about how math is another thing that keeps us from screwing around, but how relying on it also includes some subtle biases.

              2. To put it another way, Adam Savage (of Mythbusters fame) said “The difference between screwing around and science is writing it down.”

                That's simple-minded nonsense...which is not surprising given that Savage is an idiot. There's an awful lot of other stuff that needs to go on in between screwing around and writing stuff down before the process becomes "science". Think in terms of things like methodology, etc. Consider the classic old joke:

                "An experiment:
                Drank scotch and water. Got drunk.
                Drank vodka and water. Got drunk.
                Drank tequila and water. Got drunk.
                Conclusion: Water gets you drunk."

                That's written down, but it ain't "science".

                1. Clearly, you need more water, WuzYoungOnceToo. 🙂

                  1. Bourbon is mostly water, so I think I'm OK.

                    1. Ah.....yes. Bourbon hits the spot on a cold, snowy day. Rye whiskey will do the trick also.

                      May I suggest you try your water experiment with bourbon, and then rye whiskey? We need to definitely find out about that nasty water. 🙂

                      You have a good day sir. Happy 'Science-ing'. I definitely want to hear about your experimental results.

                    2. May I suggest you try your water experiment with bourbon, and then rye whiskey? We need to definitely find out about that nasty water.

                      If I've already been thorough and methodical about anything in my life, it's this subject.

                    3. Try the Knob Creek Single Barrel. It's 120 proof so you don't have to worry a much about a bad reaction to the water content.

                2. The methodology is poor, but the basis of the scientific method is there, and you've produce a testable and potentially falsifiable conclusion that you or others can continue testing

                  1. Arriving at a conclusion that is testable and falsifiable does not make the process that led to that conclusion a scientific one. If I simply say, "Elvis is alive and working at the Dunkin' Donuts in downtown Boise, ID" that's something that can be tested and falsified. That doesn't make whatever led me to make the claim "science".

                    1. Given your experiment, I'm going to move right on to testing. 🙂

                    2. I didn't say that was all that was required, and yes science is more than making declarative statements, as your earlier example included an experiment were various liquids were imbibed to test how drunk they make you. As I said before the flaw lay in the methodology (and in how the conclusions were drawn) not in the premise itself. Of course you'd know that if you had actually read and comprehended my comments, so I'm guessing this one will go over your head as well

              3. Kevin,
                That slogan you quote is cute, but is hardly an accurate summary of the intellectual history of people trying to understand the physical world.

        2. There's also exploration by motivating challenge - we're going to try and use ribosomes to build polymers not proteins, and learn how ribosomes work by failing.

          1. That's more engineering than science, if you hope to use the polymers.

            1. But you don't - you expect to fail. And learn foundational, basic science in the process.

        3. It doesn't ignore descriptive science. You can falsify descriptive science by demonstrating that the description is wrong.

          1. Which is going to happen rarely, because oftentimes you had to be there.

            1. But it does sometimes happen. For example, anatomy is a descriptive science. For the longest time they thought the lymphatic system didn't extend to the brain.

              Turns out it did, the fixative process they were using just hid it.

              1. Sure; I was thinking of social science more, but those kind of systematic errors absolutely happen.

                But see above about moving falsifiability to well after the result. That's fine, but then it becomes more like 'if you write your stuff down, it's science.'

                1. "thinking of social science"
                  I don't call that science, it is more like photography. Now, there is good photography, there is crappola, and then there are selfies.

                  1. Yeah, that's stupid. Humans are part of phenomena.

                  2. Of course social sciences are science.

                    Someone, I've forgotten who, once began an economics book by saying, "Economics is a branch of the biological sciences."

                    So it is with the others as well. If studying how ants or wolves behave is science then why isn't studying how humans behave science as well?

                    Is some of the work done lousy? Sure. That doesn't mean these are not sciences. There's lots of lousy work done everywhere.

                    1. Bernard, why "of course"?
                      While I do not deny that there is some knowledge to be gained. The "disciplines" frequently lack an object of study are devolve into subjective impressionism. There are often no means of falsifying claims since the relevant underlying variable are unknown or cannot be know, and in many case cannot be controlled or be controlled for. Standards of proof are ill-defined and frequently value-lased (subjective rather than objective.)
                      Some of the field (your study of ants) have more in common with the "hard sciences" than others. But even there you are in the realm of descriptive biology which is a far reach from molecular and cell biology.

                    2. The "disciplines" frequently lack an object of study are devolve into subjective impressionism.

                      Not in sociology, anthropology, or political science. At least not the journals I read.
                      And not in economics either, from what I can tell.

                      Maybe psychology, I don't deal with that.

                      But also insisting on quantitative (and therefore falsifiable) data is missing a lot of science. How are you going to quantitatively describe a culture?

                    3. I can think of lots of ways to quantitatively describe a culture.

                      I agree with the basic gist of what lots of people here have been saying. Rigorous social science is possible. But the social scientists themselves aren't doing it that way... for the most part. Some are, mostly in companies like Facebook. And maybe pharma.

                      I think that's because the social science questions that can be answered rigorously today are pretty dull. And social scientists in particular are incentivized to do sensational studies, since they're about people and we love to dwell on ourselves. And so the social sciences haven't developed the same standards for rigor that the physical sciences have.

                      If you look back not even all that far, essentially pre-calculus i.e. pre-Newton, the physical sciences were in the same boat. The tools didn't exist to be rigorous about the questions people wanted to know, like where gold comes from. The most interesting rigorous results were things like: fluttering aside, objects fall at the same speed independent of weight. Pretty dry stuff. So you got a lot of schlocky pseudo-science to fill in the interesting bits.

                      I feel like that's where we are now with social science. The tools that could help provide rigor (like big data) are just coming into view.

            2. Which is going to happen rarely, because oftentimes you had to be there.

              No. A description that can only be given in one case by one person is pretty much the definition of subjective. Science is at its heart objective and that is the whole point. It is a tool to model objective reality.

              1. Observation is not inherently subjective.

                Coming from physical science, I had some trouble wrapping my head around nonpredictive science, but that's how social science works. And it's useful!

                NIH said it wished it's public health research invested more in social science because a lot of social reactions to Covid policies caught them off guard.

                1. Again, you miss the difference between subjective and objective which shouldn't be surprising given your rhetorical style.

                  Observation where we look at reality and observe the same thing is objective. For example if we look into a room and count people and all of us see 5 people, it is objective. If only Sarcastro perceives cutely colored auras around some those people and is the only one that can perceive it, it is subjective. Subjective observations have no part in the sciences

                  Coming from physical science, I had some trouble wrapping my head around nonpredictive science, but that's how social science works. And it's useful!

                  So you keep asserting without any sort of rational argument. My guess is that most social science research is not at all science and mostly a net loss to society.

                  1. I took a psychology class in college. What a joke! We'd spend a week learning about some experiment and its conclusions, offered as true. Then the next week, we'd casually learn about another experiment that "disproved" the earlier one. Whaaa? No discussion about what flaws or limitations the first experiment had that might have led to its erroneous claims. Just this weird, mysticism-like mindset that experiments yield results, and we agree to all believe in the results until another experiment comes along with different ones. Then, with no questions asked, we should all switch our faith over to the new results. If you see contradictions, you aren't a true believer.

                    Not all science is like that. Physical science is rigorous of course. And social science can be done effectively, as Facebook has shown. But it did give me a glimpse into how science sceptics might come to suspect that all of science is unreliable, with its constantly shifting theories. If you don't understand how ambiguities are resolved over time in science, then the constant stream of new theories and results probably seems pretty arbitrary. And in some cases, like psychology, they are.

                    1. I would characterize social science as earlier in it's foundation laying than physical science.

                      What you describe was true of chemistry like 300 years ago.

                  2. Artifex, is your guess a scientific guess, or just a net loss to society?

                    1. Neither. It is pure value judgement. No one pays me to blather on. I can't think of anything of value to me they deliver. I would far rather have the cash in my pocket than in theirs and I am sure I am not alone in my assessment.

                      There is a reason they are funded primarily via cash extracted via the barrel of a gun and not via a market. That reason is that the value they provide is not worth the cash they cost and given free choice the resources are not going to flow in that direction.

                    2. Plenty of social science happens via the market related to consumer behaviors and such that drive purchasing decision, satisfaction, etc.

                      If you're on, your using science "funded primarily via cash extracted via the barrel of a gun..." Very little basic science/fundamental research is funded by any other method.

                  3. My guess is that most social science research is not at all science and mostly a net loss to society.

                    Yes, I know how STEMLords are.

                    The DoD disagrees with you - they use descriptive social science to make the National Defense Strategy:

                    Launched by the Secretary of Defense in 2008, the Minerva Research Initiative is a DoD-sponsored, university-based social science research initiative that focuses on areas of strategic importance to the U.S. national security policy.

                    1. "they use descriptive social science to make the National Defense Strategy"

                      Man, China is going to kick our butts.

                    2. Yes, I know how STEMLords are.

                      Indeed, I am sure a cartoon dude such as yourself has some nice cartoon label so you can produce nifty strawmen to argue against.

                      The DoD disagrees with you ...

                      Amazing, my point is utterly shot down. After all, everyone knows that DoD is totally cost conscious and never just wastes taxpayer dollars.

                      Also their methods of prediction are totally accurate. With Vietnam, Iraq, the Arab Spring and Afghanistan, who could question their "science" ?

                      Still not science.

                    3. I'd bet dollars to donuts Bob and Artifex has little to no mentionable accomplishments in either science.

                    4. China does a shitload of social science as well - where do you think they got their social credit nonsense from?

                      Artifex, is the only purpose of science some kind of technology? Because then math is out as well. So is cosmology, and a decent chunk of high energy physics.

                    5. China does a shitload of social science as well - where do you think they got their social credit nonsense from?

                      .. that this is a net loss to their society as well, or is your argument that the Chinese social credit nonsense is somehow a public good ? Also, because someone perceives something as useful does not automatically make it "science".

                      Artifex, is the only purpose of science some kind of technology?

                      Wow, what poor reasoning lead in that direction ? I made no statement at all about "the purpose of science". Not something I said or implied in any way. A more convenient strawman to attack perhaps ?

                    6. I don't see the distinction between objective and subjective that you're making if it's not about reducing to practice.

                      How is social science more subjective?

                    7. Artifex, is the only purpose of science some kind of technology? Because then math is out as well. So is cosmology, and a decent chunk of high energy physics.

                      What kind of nonsense is this? Are you questioning if the only purpose of science is technology?

                      Math heavily influences technology, and technology is almost entirely dependent on math. What the heck are you trying to imply here? I think you're just trying too hard.

                    8. I think it's pretty clear I am asking if the value of science is determined by it's relationship to developing new technologies.

                      I don't believe this. I get the impression some on this blog do, though.

                    9. Oh, so science only has value if it advances technology. Ok. I don't know if that is Artifex's position, but I doubt anybody espouses such a narrow position.

                      Social science is science-y more often than not. It lacks much in terms of reproducibility and falsifiability, but that doesn't mean it is entirely worthless. I rather enjoy the social science classes that I have taken as part of the "breadth" requirement for my fledgling CS degree.

                      To the scientists using terminology with explicit definitions and without assigning relational values, the observations and conclusions can be enlightening and interesting. To the casual observer, the terminology used is fraught with judgments of relational value and loosely defined/redefined to a point where any scientific value is entirely lost.

                      If we can't agree on the fundamental definition of key terminology because some 19 year old has decided that the term is too "loaded" (for instance, talking about civilization, and if the term should even be used any longer) because it leads to classifications (which professionals usually make as objective observations) like "barbaric" and "civilized" because obviously the only takeaway is that civilized is better than barbaric. Like, what else should it be called? They're different in X and Y ways, so they have different labels. Shut up and let the grownups talk until you learn enough to act like an adult.

                  4. Are people and the social activities they engage in not part of reality?

      2. Richard Feynman said “I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned."

        1. This appears to be a comment on religion.

    3. If the check clears, the line is where the client wants it to be. A lawyer can find an expert with letters after his name to testify to almost anything. There is no monolithic Science to summon, only scientists.

      1. So humorous and true = If the check clears, the line is where the client wants it to be.

        Thanks for the laugh this morning.

      2. I am familiar with a construction defect case in which an attorney (not me) hired a building expert to inspect the building and opine as to causation. The expert was misinformed as to which side he was supposed to be on and wrote a report that said the opposite of what the attorney who hired him wanted it to say. Upon being informed of the error, the expert, without missing a beat, promptly re-wrote the report to reach the opposite conclusion. This came to light when the attorney's paralegal mistakenly disclosed both reports and the expert was then asked about it at the his deposition.

        1. Reminds one of the old joke from Trust & Estates: a Harvard professor was hired to create a bulletproof trust. He was paid suitcases full of cash and did so.
          Twenty years later someone hired him to break the same trust. He was paid suitcases full of cash and did so.

    4. You challenge policies that cite science as their predicate, not science itself.

      The evidentiary burden on you depends on your cause of action (Constitution [various standards], Administrative Procedures Act [arbitrary and capricious], etc.)

      You meet the burden by convincing the finder of fact that your expert has the better of their expert to the threshold required.

      It's generally a high bar because judges are not experts, whereas policymakers are, even if sometimes only by institutional designation.

      1. So what is your personal 'red line', Sarcastr0? At what point do you personally say, "That's it. To Court we go."?

        Your explanation above was really clear (appreciated that).

        1. It's well beyond where we are now.

          In fact, my red lines have less to do with challenging the basis of science based policies and more to do with rights and the fundamental structures of our republic.

    5. Jfc, this is why we can’t have nice things. You disprove scientific findings through the scientific method. It’s how science works. Someone has a hypothesis, they test it, and they prove their hypothesis (or think so). Then many other people test the hypothesis. If enough of them come up with similar results, great! If few to nobody does, the hypothesis is junk.

      1. Or the original guy was in Italy, working on a marble lab table, and the guys trying to reproduce the results were elsewhere, working on wooden lab tables.

        The problem of describing procedure in sufficient detail is always present.

        1. True, but in order to test a hypothesis, that detail is required so the experiment can be repeated.

    6. I would suggest that science is a disciplined study, and that law is a social construct. Science changes when new data is found, or a new theory is proposed to meet existing data. Laws change when the empowered authority changes them.

      Science can tell you a person's blood alcohol level and the associated impairment at that level, but it is the legislature that assigns an alcohol level where you are consider too impaired to operate a car.

      An interesting case is environmental pollutants. If a pollutant like lead cannot be found in a water sample, the scientist will not say there is no lead in the water, but rather that any lead in the water is below detection limits. Law needs a more definitive answer and would conclude if it cannot be measured it in not present in the sample.

    7. The line is whether I think I can convince a judge to go along with my challenge. The fact is that the law is so incredibly deferential to agency "expertise" that the evidence in your favor has to be absolutely overwhelming before a judge will be comfortable striking down the challenged action. Getting the science wrong isn't illegal, and courts are not empowered to substitute their judgement for that of the political branches. The science has to be so wrong, so methodologically bankrupt, that relying on it is arbitrary and capricious.

      In the specific context of Covid, judges have been almost uniformly unwilling to buck the "public health consensus." Fighting the science itself is a fool's errand doomed to failure. The only challenges that have had any success have focused on questions of statutory authority (or dealt with churches, because religious liberty is the only constitutional right the Supreme Court consistently protects)

  8. The overall incarceration rate for teen males is down 81% since 2001.

    1. It's amazing what happens when a country stops punishing people for most crimes. Mostly because it is so predictable, but people try it anyway. The murder rate in 2020 (6.5 per 100k) was 18% up since 2000 (5.5 per 100k), and increased again in 2021.

      1. Violent crime is down, even as murders are up. And murders are way down over the longer trend still.

        Your blithe assumption that a higher incarceration rate would mean a lower murder rate is not supported.

        1. "Violent crime is down, even as murders are up. "

          You'll believe anything.

          Reported crime is down, the police won't investigate and prosecutors [see below] won't prosecute so why bother. You can't hide murders though.

          1. Among the crimes Bragg said his office would not prosecute: marijuana misdemeanors, including selling more than three ounces; not paying public transportation fare; trespassing except a fourth degree stalking charge, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration in certain cases, and prostitution.

            That's not violent crime, take off the tin foil.

            1. I wonder why anybody wouldn't resist arrest, if it was effectively not a crime anymore?

              1. It's worth thinking about:

                Why should it be a crime? Obviously any violent resistance is assault/battery/etc so there shouldn't be a need for another criminal count on top of that.

                That leaves what? Walking away? Refusing to obey lawful orders is also a crime, I believe. So that's also covered.

                Squirming? We really need a criminal count for that?

              2. First, you changed the subject.

                Second, you really don't get how people work. People don't resist arrest because they've weighed the criminal consequences and decided it's worth it.

              3. ¨I wonder why anybody wouldn't resist arrest, if it was effectively not a crime anymore?¨

                Perhaps to avoid being injured in a scuffle?

              4. That's not what the policy is. He's still prosecuting resisting arrest. Just not for misdemeanors or for the various crimes that he said he won't prosecute. Bragg doesn't intend to allow cops to circumvent his policies with resisting charges. If they arrest someone for marijuana possession, he won't be prosecuted, so they tack on a resisting charge to get him. Bragg's saying no.

                Charges like resisting arrest and obstruction, when not accompanied by a substantive crime, are really charges for contempt of cop.

            2. You can break into an apartment building basement without charge. You can resist arrest.

              Try this article.


              1. non-violent, non-felony charges.

                We were talking about violent crime. And you keep bringing up this crap.

                I get you want a society that is savage to criminals, because you think criminal is a class of people. But that's just awful and untrue.

          2. But murders are also way down since 2001, even accounting for the recent increase.

        2. Violent crime is down over the last 20 years because we spent a generation focusing on effective law enforcement and policing. The sudden rise is clearly because we decided to blow that all up because of one guy who had one bad experience with some cops. You obviously have on your partisan blinders here and are attempting to downplay the fact that lawlessness is rampant in American cities mostly because of progressive liberals.

          1. The overall incarceration rate for teen males is down 81% since 2001.

            That is not a partisan statement.

            1. It is because Jimmy interprets the statistic as meaning there are 81% more rabid black thugs roaming the streets, which is something Libs love.

            2. Depends on the partisan.

        3. Violent crime reports are down, yes. Nonviolent crime seems to be up, and the reporting rate seems to be very sharply down:

          Like Bob said, it's not practical to under-report murder.

          1. I'll trade nonviolent crime going up for violent crime going down any day.

            1. I used to think you were more careful about reading than that.

            2. They don't trade off. Non-violent criminals get away with it and keep doing it. Then people decide to protect themselves and you get violence.

              1. That's not a cycle we're seeing, though. Violent crimes are by and large not being committed by property holding vigilantes.

                1. Because defending your property isn't a crime.

                  1. Pretty sure we'd know it was going on.

                    1. People who have gotten used to civilization take a while to conclude that it has ended. Eventually they will reach that conclusion unless things start trending better.

                    2. So now civilization has ended?

                      Quite the spikey take to post from your computer on the Internet, Ben.

                    3. People in those neighborhoods with less and less evident civilization will conclude it has ended in their locale at some point. The only question is whether they escape to more civilized places or adapt to the new lawless circumstances and start asserting themselves in a more frontier manner.

              2. Ben, do you always get your violence in the passive voice, or is there sometimes a subject in the sentence?

                1. Sentence structures vary.

                  Every mayor and headman and chieftain throughout world history knows that property crimes need to be addressed by authorities or they will be addressed by non-authorities. It takes an extremely stubborn ignorance to fail to understand that.

      2. "incarceration rate for teen males" vs. the murder rate (i.e., innocent people killed)
        Sarcastr0 is concerned about the former, Michael P is concerned about the latter.
        As the old saying goes: If you are kind to the cruel, you will end up being cruel to the kind.

        1. I can be concerned about both. I just challenge how closely they are linked.

        2. Except it turns out that the incarceration rate and the murder rate both went way down, so your statement turns out to be incorrect.

      3. "Punishing people " isn't good you know. It's a necessary evil when it's necessary.

    2. How would it change if you looked at 2001-2021 vs 2001 - 2019?

        1. Yeah, I saw 2020. But it does not have the 2019 cutoff. My question is about what happened post-covid, ultimately. The sociologists will be talking about it for centuries.

          1. Ah. I didn't see that implication.

            That is absolutely true.

    3. That's really good.

      Still there are violent people that need to be in prison, but perhaps fewer of them are teens.

      1. Aligns with the lead hypothesis.

        1. Lots of things align with one hypothesis or another. It's all just guesses, same as my understanding of policymakers being myopic.

          1. There are good guesses and bad guesses.

            And your refusal to try and understand anything that disagrees with your guess makes it a bad guess.

            1. just like there are good opinions and bad opinions

              Policy makers are welcome to fuck off and stop meddling in our lives if explaining their decision-making is too much of a burden for them.

              1. You are writing things that take the form of making points, but are not that. This is not a discussion about which opinion is better. You believe things about policymakers that are not true. That is not an opinion, that is you being wrong.

                I've explained their decision making process to you plenty of times, and what you have wrong about it.
                I've linked you to explanations of particular rules and how they take costs to communities of the change into account. You just come back like that didn't happen.

                And you even deny the bare logical point that maintaining the status quo has costs and benefits associated with it, which is a commitment to ignorance I cannot relate to.

                1. I have no clue what information or links you are referring to. Maybe you dreamt linking them.

  9. Judge orders Mississippi city to allow mosque construction

    "A federal judge this week ordered a Mississippi city to approve plans for a mosque to be built in the area and pay the mosque builders $25,000 for expenses that were racked up in the effort to gain approval.

    According to the (Plaintiff's) complaint, the Board of Alderman said it rejected the plan on the basis that the mosque would create traffic and violate noise ordinances. The ACLU rejected this argument, pointing out that many structures in Horn Lake are larger than the planned mosque would be and that the plans that were submitted did not include speakers or noise amplifiers.

    The complaint added that board members such as former Alderman John E. Jones Jr. appear to have made no effort to hide the true reason that the application was rejected, noting that Jones told local media, 'I don’t care what they say, their religion says they can lie or do anything to the Jews or gentiles because we’re not Muslims.'

    'If you let them build it, they will come. So I think we need to stop it before it gets here,' Jones added, per the complaint."

    Gotta love Mississippi!

    It's like a living museum of the early 19th century.

    1. Routine local politics except that the particular people they don't want have extra legal protection.

      1. You think denying construction of a house of worship because members of the government don’t like the particular religion is “routine local politics”?

        It’s not.

        1. I am more familiar with housing developments, partly because a law where I live now makes it quite difficult for towns to regulate religious and educational use of property. Local officials make up all sorts of excuses, with "traffic" being popular, to keep outsiders in general or the wrong sort of people from moving in.

          1. Traffic, property values, think of the children, “I support the idea but *this* isn’t the right place for it” etcetera ad vomitum.

            But there’s a wide gulf between permitting residential development and permitting the construction of a house of worship.


      Seems Mississippi isn't the biggest offender, so yeah, got to love them for being more tolerant than most states.

      Seriously, look before you leap.

      1. If you click any of the states you find the vast majority of incidents are vandalism/violence/threats of vandalism and violence. Then when you consider larger states have larger populations, and more Muslims and mosques, you should be less impressed re: MS’s “tolerance.”

  10. Those are absolute numbers but it's better to measure against a state's population (per capita).

    (sorry, don't know how to insert a table)

    Overall rank State Population (2020 census) Percentage of U.S. population

    1 California 39,576,757 11.80%
    2 Texas 29,183,290 8.70%
    3 Florida 21,570,527 6.43%
    4 New York 20,215,751 6.03%
    34 Mississippi 2,963,914 0.88%

    Seriously, understand how statistics work before you post them.

    1. Perhaps = Seriously, understand how statistics work before you post them

      Fortunately I do, apedad. The People's Progressive *Paradisiacal Republic of NJ is one of the worst offenders. One empathizes (somewhat). I still remember what went on in Paterson on 9/11, so my empathy is somewhat tempered.

      As a Jew, I can also tell you that the Progressive Paradisiacal People's Republic of NJ has an antisemitism problem, too. Rutgers is quickly becoming an academic antisemitic sewer. Numerous towns have discriminated against Jews, particularly the Orthodox.

      This year, I am making charity donations to Canary Mission; I hope others will too. Passivity in the face of persecution is intolerable and what I like about Canary Mission is they publicly identify antisemites. Whenever I hire, I check Canary Mission's 'Hall of Shame'. No one on their list will ever work for me. Period. There are plenty of 'geez, this other one was just a wee bit better qualified because of X' alternative job candidates.

      *Yo, I am trying to imitate that Circuit Court Judge Selya with some big words (Paradisiacal). How did I do? 🙂

      1. Wow, that was a nice victimization judo toss there!

        1. Yeah but...was my word choice [paradisiacal] worthy of Judge Selya?! Only John Ross (Short Circuit) can answer this. 🙂

      2. A question for you, C_XY.
        Is the suffix -nik (describeing a person related to the thing, state, habit, or action) always indicative of a Jew family name while the suffix -nykh is indicative of a non-Jewish family name.

        Obviously -nik is a transcription of -ник often written as nykh.

        1. Don Nico, truthfully I do not know the answer to your question.

          1. I expect that EV might. Maybe I should send him an email.

    2. "Those are absolute numbers but it's better to measure against a state's population (per capita).

      Seriously, understand how statistics work before you post them."

      I agree that per capita is the correct approach. Using your population numbers and counting the incidents from the ACLU's page I get the following per capita numbers (incidents per million):

      CA 0.84
      TX 1.0
      FL 1.1
      NY 1.7
      MS 0.69

      1. Wouldn't the muslim population numbers (or mosques numbers) be relevant?

        1. You can argue either side of that. Suppose you have two groups A and B (Muslims and KKK members, for example). How would those two values affect the number of incidents where B bothers A?

          Obviously, if either A or B has zero members there will be zero interactions. But if you have 100 B's, and they go looking for A's, it might not matter if there was one A or ten A's; either way there are enough A's that B's who want to find one can.

          Or you can model it as A's and B's colliding at random like ideal gas molecules - in that case the numbers of both would matter.

          But apedad's contention was that 'it's better to measure against a state's population (per capita)', and since he provided total population numbers I went with those.

          1. If we're looking at how many of X were targeted per state then the number of x per state is certainly relevant.

            1. It sure could be. I'll look forward to the data you find!

  11. Jailed Capitol riot defendant blasts Trump for canceling his Jan. 6 press conference, saying he abandoned his supporters

    "A jailed Capitol riot defendant has said he was 'disappointed' in Donald Trump for canceling his January 6 press conference and suggested that the former president had abandoned his supporters.

    'There should be a hundred thousand people in DC tomorrow at the very minimum … I am so disappointed with Trump and the American people at large that just do not get behind the January 6 political prisoners,' Edward Jacob Lang, 26, told 'The Stew Peters Show' in a Wednesday phone interview from jail.

    Lang then addressed Trump directly, saying: "You better do a press conference, man. We are rotting in jail because we stood up for what you told us to stand up for."

    Lang, from New York, has been charged with 11 counts, including assaulting a police officer with a bat and a protective shield, according to court documents."

    When are you guys going to learn that Trump doesn't give a shit about you, his lawyers, business associates, family - ANYBODY other than himself?!?

    How can any sane person think that Trump would be trying to help them?


    1. Trump's justification for canceling was that the media would refuse to cover anything positive that happened, wouldn't honestly report what he said, anything bad that happened would get massive coverage, and they might even make bad shit up.

      Is any of that wrong?

      1. No, it is not = Is any of that wrong?

      2. Don't tell me - tell Mr. Lang.

        1. Mr. Lang has to be punished for his actions: severely. You do not assault a police officer; I am assuming the allegation is completely true. He can cool his heels in prison for another year.

      3. It's never stopped him before. If he suddenly cares enough about his MSM cred to stop doing appearances... maybe we've seen the last of Trump? Wishful thinking, I know.

        1. I think we're seeing a Trump who's a bit smarter about dealing with press bias. Maybe a Trump who's having 2nd thoughts about running in 2024, too, which would be good in my opinion. He's just going to be too old at that point.

          1. Seriously, get help.

          2. The one and only reason Trump would run again is to evade prosecution. Everything else is a grift.

            His PAC. His SPAC. His fantasy media company. He's not canny about managing "press bias." He's canny about getting people like you to cough up cash for his pyramid schemes and crony networks.

            He doesn't want the job, and has never wanted to do the work. He watched the insurrection happen while eating god knows what from the White House dining room. Does that sound like a man who takes the office seriously?

            1. "The one and only reason Trump would run again is to evade prosecution. Everything else is a grift."

              Yeah, yeah, people were saying basically the same thing in 2016.

        2. He just endorsed Orban. He does not care.

      4. What positive things happened on January 6th?

        1. Mike Pence stood up.

          Some brilliant police work, although maybe too little shooting.

          Had the first person to breach the Capitol itself been shot down, everything would have stopped right there. January 6 would look a lot smaller, and the nation would not now be so on edge about its future.

          Instead, it would all work more like expectations for security at the White House: Oh yeah, if you try to break in there, they shoot you. Everyone knows that. No big deal, actually.

          1. Some brilliant police work, although maybe too little shooting.

            I did nazi this coming. Ok, that's a lie, of course SL thinks it would have been great to shoot more people, because it was the wrong people.

            Had the first person to breach the Capitol itself been shot down, everything would have stopped right there. January 6 would look a lot smaller, and the nation would not now be so on edge about its future.

            As small as it already was, that's not saying much. If the first person to breach had been shot, right out front, publicly, the protestors would have been just as likely to have been further agitated, and made things worse, while also making the protestors seem more justified. Good thing you're not in charge of thinking or acting in defense of anything.

            Instead, it would all work more like expectations for security at the White House: Oh yeah, if you try to break in there, they shoot you. Everyone knows that. No big deal, actually.

            Why should the public US Capitol building have such a policy? Hell, why should the White House have such a policy?

            SL the violent and hateful. You're as much a part of what is wrong with politics in the US today as the protestors.

          2. "Had the first person to breach the Capitol itself been shot down"
            Good going SL, when that happens in ordinary street riots your cry excessive use of police force.
            I do hope that you enjoyed yesterday's Day of Partisan Hysteria.

            1. Don Nico, you have yourself a pointless subject change.

              No ordinary street riot has power to cast a pall over the nation's expectations whether its mode of government can survive. It is an incommensurate scale of consequence which justifies acceptance that the White House will be protected by immediate deadly force against any forceful intrusion. For the same reason, now demonstrated, the Capitol deserves no less protection.

      5. Good Lord, what a man baby. Waah, I'm a billionaire politician that if I speak on a controversial day involving me people might misrepresent what I said or say mean things about me. Change my diaper!

      6. It's an odd way of saying, "I in fact have nothing newsworthy to say about an event I officially claim to have had no part of, except to repeat my tiresome claims that the election was somehow stolen from me, and my handlers have managed to convince me that the chances of getting heaps of free, credulous coverage from anyone besides OANN doesn't outweigh the risk that a bunch of ranting Nazis might make for poor optics."

    2. Nuts are gonna nutpick.

      1. People on this blog have called those jailed over Jan 06 political prisoners.

        There are well-attended rallies.

        But if you want stats:
        49% of Likely U.S. Voters agree that protesters arrested during the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol are being held as “political prisoners,”

        Rass does not break out by political affiliation, natch.

        1. Issue polls are garbage, no exception.

          1. So then what counts as proof to you?

            1. For Bob? Pure power.

        2. I'm fine with calling them political prisoners. Insurrection is a political crime.

          The political process is not a mere degraded all-purpose epithet. The political process is the means the Constitution prescribes for the nation to manage its public affairs. Defend it accordingly. Far worse to encourage a feckless belief that political crime is a notion so at odds with liberty that freedom requires giving it a pass.

          When exercise of political process occasions political violence, get ready to embrace the notion of political prosecution. If you think that is bad, consider the alternative—political violence without prosecution.

          Still upset? Consider backing political comity instead. If some folks refuse to do that, blame them. They cause the upset. Or prosecute them, if they commit political crimes. Defending liberty in the courts will prove wiser, and less upsetting than defending it in the streets.

        3. If you have a point, please make it. Thinking that the January 6th rioters are political prisoners is not the same as thinking they are "rotting in jail because [they] stood up for what [Trump] told [them] to stand up for".

          1. You called someone out for nutpicking, and then turned out to agree with the nut!

            That's amazing.

        4. Those held in solitary confinement without charges brought certainly were.

          1. Who were those?

            Name them.

    3. We are rotting in jail because we stood up for what you told us to stand up for."

      Don't tell Brett; he still thinks Trump didn't have anything to do with the insurrection.

      1. The opinion of one delusional person is enough to totally invalidate Brett's opinion?

        Okay dude.

        1. Vinni, if it were one delusional person against another, how many valid opinions would you expect?

      2. Ha ha it wasn't an insurrection, even if the insurrectionists still think it was.

      3. "Don't tell Brett; he still thinks Trump didn't have anything to do with the insurrection."

        "Had anything to do with" is a pretty vague claim, approaching unfalsifiable. I'd say that there's no evidence he directed that the riot take place.

        Might some of the people involved have thought they were doing what he wanted? Sure, idiots abound, but idiots getting stupid ideas about what you might want is not a crime.

        1. Gee, why might they have thought that? Could it be because they heard what he said? And interpreted them in terms of their natural meaning, rather than desperately trying to engineer an interpretation of those words that was innocuous?


    "At a crucial moment during 2020’s racial justice protests, Seattle police exchanged a detailed series of fake radio transmissions about a nonexistent group of menacing right-wing extremists.

    The radio chatter about members of the Proud Boys marching around downtown Seattle, some possibly carrying guns, and then heading to confront protesters on Capitol Hill was an improper “ruse,” or dishonest ploy, that exacerbated a volatile situation, according to findings released Wednesday by the city’s Office of Police Accountability...."

  13. Catholic Church Bringing Clergy From Africa to U.S. as Number of American Priests Drops

    "Many African priests are relocating to the United States thanks to the Catholic Church.

    Some American dioceses have been looking to expand their clergy with African priests as that continent experiences a boom in Catholicism. This push comes as the number of priests in the U.S. is dropping significantly. According to Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, the number of priests in the country dropped by 60 percent from 1970 to 2020. As a result, around 3,500 parishes have been left without a permanent pastor."

    Damn immigrants taking good ol' Murica jobs, amiright!!!

    This is hilarious all-around.

    Like this:

    The Reverend Athanasius Chidi Abanulo—using skills honed in his African homeland to minister effectively in rural Alabama—determines just how long he can stretch out his Sunday homilies based on who is sitting in the pews.

    Seven minutes is the sweet spot for the mostly white and retired parishioners who attend the English-language Mass at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in the small town of Wedowee, Alabama. 'If you go beyond that, you lose the attention of the people,' he said."

    I'd live to see Joe-Bob's face as Athanasius Chidi Abanulo is preaching to him.

    1. If bigots did not exist, it would be necessary for you to invent them.

      Wait, you already did that. Hm....

      1. But they do exist and I didn't invent anything.

        See the "Judge orders Mississippi city to allow mosque construction" above.

        You're just a whiny loser who adds nothing.

        1. So your hypothesis here is Mississippians don't like Muslims, therefore Catholics won't like....other Catholics?

          1. To apedad all brown people are interchangeable.

          2. I think it's that Alabamians might be prejudiced. Yeah, where in the world could he have gotten that idea from, I dunno.

        2. "I'd live [sic] to see Joe-Bob's face"

          No difference between you and Alderman John E. Jones Jr.

          Only the targets of bigotry is different.

          1. Show me where I ever tried to deny someone their rights like JEJ did.

            Like Rev K, I fully acknowledge that bigots have rights too - and have many times said we need bigots to help keep our democracy stable.

            Your imaginations are your downfall but I guess since you're on the losing side that's all you have.

            1. The thing is that you're starting from a a place of ignorance and assume that this man's congregation must be racially animated towards him. Wedowee is racially mixed, especially for how small it is. Active Catholics know the state of the seminary is crap here and have accepted foreign priests for a long time. Race is a non-issue compared to religion for the very religious. You began with a stereotype of a rural Alabaman (who would not usually be Catholic anyway) and then assumed its existence. It's almost Jack Chick-like how smug you are about it.

            2. "Show me where I ever tried to deny someone their rights like JEJ did."

              I don't know you ability to do so. Are you on a zoning board? Elected official? Makes hiring decisions?

              Its an interesting standard. One can be a bigot but its ok until they act to deprive someone else.

    2. Do the African Catholic Priests get the H-1B visa for skilled workers in short supply in the US? Are these men taking away jobs that could be filled by American citizens? Where is the outrage here about these immigrants?

      1. "where is the outrage"
        Apparently in imaginations.

      2. Apparently many American men are unwilling to take a vow of celibacy and are therefore unable to fulfil the requirements of the job, making an H-1B visa viable.

        1. There's a separate visa for religious ministers, actually.

        2. Many American men are unwilling to work on dairy farms and in meat processing plants and that why we need immigrant labor.

          1. Why? Are there no children to do those jobs?

            The golf links lie so near the mill,
            That almost every day,
            The laboring children can look out,
            And watch the men at play.
            — Sarah Norcliffe Cleghorn

          2. Many American men are unwilling to work on dairy farms and in meat processing plants and that why we need immigrant labor.

            They should stop requiring celibacy...

    3. Is this a headline from 1990? The US catholic church has been importing priests in droves since I was a kid in the early 1980s -- primarily from Africa and the Philippines.

      1. South America, too.

        1. Surprisingly, that is not the case, at least not in my experience. I think most Central and South American priests stay closer to home. Countries like Brazil are having a hard time getting enough priests for their own population.

      2. I don't think our local Hispanic church has had a decent Spanish speaker for a long time though but plenty of white Americans. You'd think they'd swap the Anglos with someone who doesn't sound funny at some point but eh, it amuses me.

    4. I'd live to see Joe-Bob's face as Athanasius Chidi Abanulo is preaching to him.

      Bigots gonna bigot. Apey here must be a congregant of Artie's church of bigotry.

    5. Bravo for Rev. Albanulo!
      I am sure he has a lot more sensible stuff to say that the Reverend Artie

  14. Henry IV Part 2 is a weird play. Discuss.

    1. OK, I'll bite: Why?

      It recycles Junior's moral failings from Part 1, and likewise safely delivers a reformed lad by play's end. It recycles Sir John's hilarious antics from the first play, and ends with his repudiation by the V's crowning. It recycles a bit of rebel mischief and disposes of that by some unsporting trickery.

      All in all, it's pure Hollywood-grade sequel work, giving the people exactly what they applauded before. I tend to prefer the first one over the second, but both are a hoot. Of course my non-traditional favorite Shakespeare play is A Winter's Tale, which manages to squeeze in a little bit of everything. (I'm also really look forward to seeing Joel's Macbeth - maybe this weekend)

      1. "All in all, it's pure Hollywood-grade sequel work, giving the people exactly what they applauded before."

        This is what makes it bizarre I think. Takes the breakout character and amps him up to 11 with a bunch of disjointed scenes that don't really have a lot to do with each other or have a satisfying and unifying end like one where they all meet at Shrewsbury. Not his best work, although interestingly, the two of the most (mis)quoted lines come from this play ("Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown," "we have heard the chimes at midnight")

        Also, the fact that Poins just disappears. Very weird (although not uncommon in Shakespeare as Benvolio kind of just disappeared in Romeo and Juliet)

        1. The first play worked towards a resolution - Hal sees the light & pledges to live a reformed life; the kingdom & succession are secure. You can almost picture Bill Shakespeare picking up his quill and saying "Yikes! I gotta do a reset if I'm gonna this work...."

          As for famous Shakespearian disappearing acts, Poins has nothing on the Fool in Lear. Everyone is still trying to figure that one out.

          1. "Yikes! I gotta do a reset if I'm gonna this work...."

            Yeah, the Studio clearly gave him lots of money to come up with the 16th century Iron Man 2. Although its certainly not as bad as The Merry Wives of Windsor which is like Joey was to Friends...if the Queen demanded it

            1. The most timely reference would be the new Matrix movie, which I saw a few days ago. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but the first quarter of the film is cleverly meta on the pressure to produce "acceptable" sequels.

              Merry Wives I know zilch about, but have heard it's pretty flaccid. One of the pleasures of Shakespeare is he was an ordinary working-joe putting out a popular product despite all his white-hot brilliance. But apparently even he couldn't perform on command.

              1. I haven't seen the new Matrix or any besides the original. I heard the new one is actually pretty decent...but I guess I'd have to slog through reloaded/revolutions first.

                Merry Wives is just: what if Falstaff was dumber and in a bawdy rom com. That's it.

  15. Biden apparently giving a humdinger of a Jan 06 speech.

    1. And Trump immediately responded with a ho-hum....e-mail.


      1. I noted that he again wants an investigation of the 2020 election. He batting zero but still want to keep trying.

        1. Uh... he's batting over $100 Million. Every time he gets his followers riled up over "The Steal," his bank accounts swell.

    2. Harris compared it to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor. That will get the coverage.

      1. Give or take 5 minutes and it would have been up there with those, yeah.

        Lynch some Congresspeople and everyone gets bent out of shape.

        1. Did you see that sorry excuse for a "Gallows"? Would have collapsed even trying to support Pencil Neck Schitt's skinny neck. It's to the point you'd need a group of Mexicans(OK, probably only 3 or 4) to build a decent Gallows

          1. It was 5 foot tall and was 3 pieces of wood lightly held together. You could not hang the Pence family rabbit on it.

            They publish a picture with a false perspective showing the whole dome fitting in it. Its pure propaganda.


            Sarcasto didn't get upset about the similar guillotine the BLM people took to their protests.

        2. "Lynch some Congresspeople"

          You are delusional.

          1. Lynch is a strong word, but if you think that Congress people (or their staff) wouldn’t be subject to physical violence if the mob got to them, you’re the delusional one.

            1. Possible? Sure. Likely? Doubtful.

          2. They were chanting 'hang mike pence' and running around calling out Pelosi. Do you think it was to have a firm and frank discussion?

            And they'd already proven they were a violent mob getting into the building.

            And their social media was all about civil war and revolution.

            Yeah, we will never know the counterfactual, but it's far from delusional to see the massive potential for violence.

            1. Yeah the people who were getting in physical altercations with armed police, some of whom believe that Democratic politicians are part of a Satan-worshiping pedophilia cabal, were going to just have some tea and have a nice chat with Nancy Pelosi about the intricacies of election administration and the pros and cons of a Herrenvolk democracy.

            2. Sarcastr0 : "They were chanting 'hang mike pence'"

              Some were doing so with a electric megaphone. And this was after Trump tweeted his royal displeasure over Pence. And that was after Trump's aides told him Pence was endangered by the mob.

              There's no way to get around what a loathsome piece of s**t Trump is.

            3. This is the right answer. I agree that the gallows that reporters see was never going to be used, and to the extent people think the ramshackle gallows was anything more than a symbol, it's laughable. People have been burning effigies and bringing guillotines to protests for decades (though it certainly seems to have ramped up recently).

              It's what the crowd was doing that is important. If the mob was willing to break into a guarded building, even as one of the protesters was shot at point-blank range, there's every reason to believe they would have violently attacked the octogenarian or near-octogenarian senators and representatives that were the focus of their ire.

              1. If they can bludgeon a police officer with a fire extinguisher, a rickety gallows isn't going to stop them from killing people.

        3. Give or take another year, and it would have been up there with what Democrats had been doing for the previous 2 years.

          I don't care what standard gets settled on, but could we have just one?

          1. No, nothing Democrats did was like the invasion of the Capitol in either intent, manifestation, or risk.

            The attempted parallels of riots alongside the Floyd protests and sit-ins in state capitols just underscores how y'all got nothing.

            1. Oh, bullshit.

              Setting fire to occupied buildings. Blinding people with lasers. Burning down police stations. Federal court buildings under siege.

              Total bullshit, the last two years' riots were, if anything, a thousand times worse.

              1. And which clear election loser did they try to keep in power?

                1. Oh, is that the definition of "insurrection"? I don't think so.

                  1. You said they were "a thousand times worse" but none of them tried to effectuate a coup to keep an election loser in power.

                    1. No, they just killed people and destroyed stuff, and set fire to buildings with people inside. Trivial stuff like that.

                    2. And installing a dictator isn't trivial either.

                      And again. You like violence and don't value human life. You've stated several times you think loss of property justifies homicide. Stop pretending you suddenly care about violence to score a political point.

                    3. Brett: Let's have one standard, please!
                      Others: Ok, how about it be violence to stop the federal transfer of power is terrible.
                      Brett: Oh, that's the standard now?

                      Well, yeah. I mean, you can get why Brett isn't impressed, he has disdain for democracy, but like a color blind person who can't see shades himself you'd think he'd get they're still there for others.

                    4. "Others: Ok, how about it be violence to stop the federal transfer of power is terrible."

                      Huh? Violence for other purposes is OK?

                    5. Really, TiP? That's the reading you're going with?

                    6. Well, Sarcastro, that does seem to sum it up. Two years of burning cities, dozens of deaths, billions in property damage? Not worth acknowledging.

                      Fairly modest riot by a few of your political enemies? Big freaking deal.

                      Apparently your concern about violence is very situational.

                    7. It's acknowledged and being prosecuted. But property crimes are a normal thing, even if they occur in or around protests.

                      That happened on Jan 06 was not a normal thing. And it was intended to be quite a bit more abnormal than that.

                      Like 9-11 is just 3000 people. But it was not a normal thing.

                    8. No, what happened on January 6th was not a "normal thing".

                      The riots that occurred over the last couple of years were not a "normal thing", either. Don't try to normalize people violently attacking federal court houses and police stations night after night.

                    9. Cut the coup crap.
                      Nowhere else in the world but in the DNC and the MSM is that riot called a coup.
                      And Joe's amping up the hysteria by saying that AMerican democracy is more threatened today than a year ago is nonsense.
                      American democracy is a lot stronger that the D leaderships gives it credit for being.

                    10. Don, if we saw that occur anywhere else in the world, we would have called it an attempted coup.

                      Brett, riots have happened in the past. They will happen again; they do not threaten our Republic. Have some perspective.

                    11. "if we saw that occur anywhere else in the world, we would have called it an attempted coup."

                      You might, but *we* certainly wouldn't 🙂

                      I would not call it a coup here
                      I would not call it a coup there
                      I would not call it a coup anywhere.

                2. 18 U.S. Code § 2384 - Seditious conspiracy

                  "If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both."

                  The last two years saw dozens of instances of this, and Democrats not only didn't cry "Insurrection!", they enabled it.

                  1. Lol you keep dodging the question because you know the answer is really really bad. January 6th was a coup attempt in support of keeping Donald Trump in power after clearly losing an election. That makes January 6th different than every other riot in US history.

                    P.S. for FWIW, you want to keep monuments up to people who did WAY worse than the 2020 riots. So its not like you're exactly opposed to celebrating and endorsing enablers of violence.

                    1. This is just Brett 101.

                    2. "you want to keep monuments up to people who did WAY worse than the 2020 riots."

                      Nailed it.

            2. No, nothing Democrats did was like what they did.

              You can probably find the CNN article about the hundreds of people arrested for their attempt to impede Congress back in 2018.

              1. What a pathetic attempt at analogy.

                More than a hundred protestors vs. thousands
                Unfurling banners/blocking an elevator vs. beating, spraying, etc., police, smashing windows, climbing walls, etc.
                Trying to stop a hearing for a SCOTUS judge vs. trying to stop Presidential transfer

                You really should ask yourself what has brought you to this intellectual low.

            3. Sarcastr0, you are so full of shit.

              "10 years ago, Democrats embraced the left-wing mob that occupied the state Capitol in Madison. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) praised the occupiers for an “impressive show of democracy in action” and tweeted as they assaulted the Capitol that she continued “to stand in solidarity” with the union activists. In other words, Democrats were for occupying capitols before they were against it."


              1. sit-ins in state capitols are not the same as hunting for Congresspeople.

                1. Excuses, excuses S_0.
                  Bad back then, Bad a year ago, but in neither case a coup d'etat.

                  1. That's not an excuse, it's obvious.

                    It was an intended as a coup, and there was sufficient affirmative actions to call it an attempted coup.

              2. State capitols are *necessarily* < our federal one. And trying to stop the passage of a law is < than trying to stop the federal Executive transfer of power.

            4. "No, nothing Democrats did was like the invasion of the Capitol in either intent, manifestation, or risk."

              Well, the Capitol rioters took over a building without burning it down. I don't know if the Democrats have done that, but they've sure done the opposite plenty of times.

              1. A building.


                1. Yeah, setting fire to buildings with people in them, that's a nothingburger. Shouldn't even be a misdemeanor, amiright?

                  1. No, it's not nothing, but it's nothing like what Jan 06 was about.

                    We have standard criminal law to deal with normal criminal acts like that. It seems well suited to that purpose.

                    We don't have much right now to deal with a President trying to stay in power after being voted out, and people willing to commit violence in his name towards that same goal.

                    1. Yes, we have standard criminal law to deal with people getting together to attack government buildings.

                      As I keep saying, if you can prove that Trump organized the invasion of the Capitol building, go for it, string him up for all I care. I haven't seen evidence of that, let alone proof.

                      He was pursuing a legal strategy, not attempting a coup. A dubious legal strategy, IMO, but not really any more dubious than legal arguments that have prevailed in the past. The riot actually put a stop to that, rather than being part of his strategy.

                    2. Even equating your attempted arson of an empty courthouse with Jan 06, what happened that day *was not just an attack on a government building*, as has been pointed out to you many many times.

                      It was a direct attack on elected officials, with the purpose of upsetting the peaceful transfer of power that is bedrock to our Republic.

                      In the meantime, Trump's supporters were making presentations on how to ignore the lost election.

                      And it's continuing to occur in GOP-held statehouses across the country.

                      And you twist yourself in contradictory knots to deny this is new or bad.

                    3. "Even equating your attempted arson of an empty courthouse"

                      Occupied. Multiple cases of that.

            5. sit-ins in state capitols

              And, that's how you know someone is totally and completely incapable of being reasoned with.

            6. "The attempted parallels of riots alongside the Floyd protests and sit-ins in state capitols just underscores how y'all got nothing."

              Sit ins. Really, "sit ins"?

              You're still in denial, so deep you're at risk of nitrogen narcosis.

              The last two years weren't "sit ins", they were RIOTS. Buildings being set on fire, people being beaten and killed.

              "Sit ins". God, you're shameless.

              1. Yeah, most of the protests you bring up as 'invasions of state capitals' are sit-ins.

                You just switched what you're talking about, not me.

                And the riots were nothing like Jan 06. No goal of overturning an election, no danger to elected officials, no elected official incitement...

                Demonizing the other side to rationalize your side's attack on our very Republic continues to amaze me.

                1. I brought up people setting occupied federal and state government buildings on fire, killing dozens of people, and causing billions of dollars in property damage.

                  Apparently small potatoes compared to Congress being inconvenienced for a few hours.

        4. "Give or take 5 minutes and it would have been up there with those, yeah."

          Huh. Seems like Sarcastro's oft-expressed objection to counterfactual claims is... contingent.

          1. Short vs. long term?

            1. I don't recall Sarcastro ever mentioning the term as the basis for his objections.

              1. This would have happened five minutes from this situation


                This would have happened months later from this situation


                1. Are you making this argument to save Sarcastro from having to make such a limp-dick argument himself? That's mighty white of you.

          2. I see you missed the bit about 'intent, manifestation, or risk.'

  16. Because she shares Asian/Middle East heritage with those who attacked us?

  17. Finished the Edmund Morris Theodore Roosevelt trilogy.

    Man, he ends rough. Including his children and the progressive legacy.

    Gonna have to read FDR soon to get the taste out of my mouth. But first the final 2 books of the Expanse.

    And for my sci fi book club, One Day This Will All Be Yours by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Not a great time travel fan, but book clubs are partially about getting out of your comfort zone.

    1. Did "Ninth Street Women" on the female abstract expressionist painters, then Richardson's last volume of Picasso biography, Jill Heinerth's account of her life cave diving, and a quick trio of mysteries.

      Now I'm on Ovid's Metamorphoses (Mandelbaum), which turns out to be no chore at all - though I have trouble keeping track of all the legacy myths.

      1. I'd recommend the Morris trilogy - it's an amazing ride, and not a hagiography.

        Any recommendations from your readings?

        1. All the Picasso bios from Richardson are great. Some biographers seem to squeeze every possible drop of understanding and detail from a life, and that's the case here. And Picasso was a Olympian-grade monster, both artistically (mostly good) and ethically (mostly bad).

          Nine Street Women covers too much ground to be that insightful, but is still rich in the atmosphere and gossip of the U.S. cultural scene in the 40s & 50s.

          Jill Heinerth is a total badass, but I'm a diver and can appreciate her doing all the things I don't have the skills (or balls) to try.

        2. I recommend the 6 book History of Rome series by Colleen McCullough. True, she was a Julius Caesar groupie. But it is a great series backed by much research into Roman social and political practices

          1. She was indeed. I don't think I've seen anyone so smitten as CM for JC. That said, historians tend to split into two ranks on the greater blame for the Republic's collapse - Caesar or the Boni - and reading those books nudged me to the latter group (blame-wise).

            Her loathing of Marcus Porcius Cato (Uticensis) may have been over the top, but my subsequent readings suggests it had a firm foundation. I honestly think Cato is the all-time greatest example of someone whose fame is by branding alone, pre-Kardashian. He accomplished nothing in letters, nothing in philosophy, nothing in military duty, barely got beyond the lowest rung of Roman political office, and generally caused the exact opposite of his political aims thru bone-headed obstinate stupidity. Fred K. Drogula wrote an even-hand bio of him.

  18. When you go back to work after Christmas on Thursday, the Monday blues quickly evaporate!

    1. I always hate that first day back, but by the end of that work day the Holidays feel like they were a decade ago.

  19. So, many Jan. 6 insurrectionists have been in jail without trial in DC for up to a year for walking around in the Capitol and taking selfies while folks there charged with attempted murder in SE are out on bail.

    1. Federal court != state court.

      The special pleading from the GOP about our criminal justice system has been really telling about how parochial their understanding is.

      1. Is it "special pleading" if conservatives don't actually believe the criminal justice system is supposed to be a universal system that applies neutral rules of substance and procedure to everyone, and is instead supposed to be a system only targeted at undesirable populations rather than targeted at specifically listed criminal acts which the desirable populations from time to time might commit?

        1. No, th...oh, wait.

          It's rhetorical!


      2. It's not special pleading to ask that (checks guilty pleas) non-violent trespassers and other misdemeanants are handled at least as leniently as people who burn down occupied police precincts or who murder.

        1. Sorry that federal court criminal processing takes longer than state court.

          Just because you don't understand something doesn't make it not a thing.

          1. It took a lot less time for federal prosecutors to dismiss charges against rioters in Portland than it has taken to do anything in this case, you dishonest piece of slime.

            Just because you refuse to admit facts don't make them false.

            1. LOL. Please let's see someone with a credible murder case against them being handled more leniently than someone accused only of trespass.

              Talk about being dishonest...

            2. Portland rioters are still being held pending trial.

              Are you making this up, or do you trust some source that is fine with lying to you?

      3. The special pleading from the GOP about our criminal justice system has been really telling about how parochial their understanding is.

        Remember the prosecution of disgraced ex-general Michael Flynn? Every routine bit of law enforcement conduct was suddenly tyrannical because now it had happened to a white guy.

        1. I don't think it was because he was white, but rather because it was politically motivated.

    2. Yeah, it turns out it's really dumb to commit federal crimes.

  20. For my chance to vent into the void:
    It's frustrating that so many reporters, including some here at Reason, spread a narrative that fundamentally misunderstands the Electoral College process in the US.

    No, Congress wasn't gathered to certify the vote for president. It was instead counting the votes of electors. States certify; Congress counts, through legally defined procedures.

    It's unfortunate, but this detail has become the center of a story that really goes off the deep end into drama and conspiracy. If reporters got this one detail right, maybe the rest of the story might be brought back down to reality.

    1. The media doesn't care about the details because of MEGADEATH ULTRA WORSE THAN 9/11 INSURRECTION!!!!!!

      They have to cast this something worse than the actual civil war because of the political expediency. Of course, it is all just a partisan blunder by the left. Had this been smelly hippies that identified as transintersectionals they would be hailed as freedom fighters complete with finger wagering lectures (like we got in Summer 2020) about how we should listen to these people....

      1. Disaffected right-wing bigots are among my favorite culture war casualties -- and the precise target audience of a White, male blog with a vanishingly small academic veneer.

    2. "If reporters got ... right..."

      If the sun would only rise in the west sometimes...

    3. "It was instead counting the votes of electors. States certify; Congress counts, through legally defined procedures."

      Uh, the whole point of Trump's strategy is that Congress (or the VP!) could refuse to 'count' what states had certified.

    4. mepton, a little help to understand why your points are important? What do you think happened differently than the "story" you criticize, and how different? What did reporters get wrong, and how?

  21. Do people here have thoughts on the Elizabeth Holmes verdicts? I found it striking that the jury found her guilty on the counts of fraud against specific wealthy investors, but either innocent or unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the counts of fraud against regular people who were impacted by Theranos' false or inaccurate test results. I guess those were harder for the prosecution to prove.

    1. I saw that come across my twitter, but I don't think it's some classism inherent in the system or anything; causality from corporate leadership is just more attenuated for customers than investors.

      1. I would not be surprised if the prosecution knew they would lose on the patient-fraud counts, but included them just so they could elicit testimony against Holmes from sympathetic victims, rather than relying solely on billionaire silicon valley investors.

      2. "...I don't think it's some classism inherent in the system..."

        I don't think so either. Although perhaps the law in this area makes it too difficult to hold corporate leadership accountable for the wrongs the corporation inflicts on customers. Or perhaps that would be more a matter for civil court. It's a little frustrating, because it would seem likely that the actions of Holmes and Theranos led to very serious negative health outcomes, and even deaths.

    2. What will be interesting is the sentencing. Is she going to get the standard "female light sentence" or is she going to get jail time equal to what a man would get?

      1. What would really be interesting is a tally of what a man's typical jail time for this crime would be. I have a (pessimistic) feeling it's not as much as I'd believe warranted. I suspect my pessimism on class trumps your pessimism on sex.

        Speaking of which, the same light prison term for white-collar crime will probably prove true when it's Trump's turn to be sentenced for fraud.

        1. Having been on both sides of corporate audits, if the only thing a state level investigation with the power of the government behind it, that was essentially doing a politically motivate forensic audit of Trump's corporate finances with the intent of finding something, anything, to charge him or any executive with can unearth a relatively minor tax issue (that is murky legally, but enough to get a probable cause indictment) then my best guess is that efforts to get him on anything serious are going to be fruitless. Either he kept his nose clean, made sure that there were enough layers of separation between him and something that was in the gray area, or (imagine that) he actually ran a legit operation.

          1. Jimmy the Dane : "Either he kept his nose clean, made sure that there were enough layers of separation between him and something that was in the gray area, or (imagine that) he actually ran a legit operation"

            A couple of points:

            1. Only with white collar crime does "made sure there were enough layers of separation between him and (etc)" equal "kept his nose clean". That kind of euphemism doesn't work with a drug lord.

            2. There's a warm & cheery cult-style optimism in your belief Trump could run a legit operation. Me? I observe anytime anyone looks closely at anything Trump does, they find fraud. Trump University operated for seven years until someone took a close look. They found fraud. Trump Foundation lasted thirty years until a single reporter decided to make it a project. He found a comical and grotesque level of fraud. Even in the limited amount of DJT tax info leaked to the NYT, there were elaborate scams with multiple shell companies owned by Trump laundering phantom business expenses then written off his taxes.

            You'll say he's not wearing prison orange yet, and I concede your point. After all, very clear laws become "murky legally" (your words) when the lawbreaker wears a suit. But legit operation ?!? Please be real. They discovered Trump looted his Foundation to pay little Trump Jr's seven-dollar Boy Scout fee.

            You or me would just pull out our wallets for that. But supposed billionaire Trump sees it as criminal sport. There's no chance whatsoever he has ever ran a legit operation.

            1. A legitimate corporate operation is just not legally similarly situated like an illegal black market conspiracy operation like a drug lord runs. Nice try though....

              The reason why corporate crimes are harder to prosecute is because the law is not so black and white. There are plenty of legitimate things that a company can do that look morally suspect to outsiders, but as the tax law and financial reporting laws are written are perfectly fine. It is part of the "game" companies play with the government thanks for our overly complicated legal system. If you don't like the fact that companies play these games then support simplifying our tax law and they go away. Until then.....enjoy.

              And I stick by my original assertion. If the inquiries and forensic audits of the actual Trump organization, not a subsidary or non-profit company bearing his name or likeness, were engaged in fraud or anything that looked remotely criminal, the prosecutors would not have had to seize on to a singular tax issue that if fairly prosecuted would have resulted in a demand letter to pay the back taxes, penalties, and interest (at least in the first instance).

      2. Mr. the Dane said: "What will be interesting is the sentencing. Is she going to get the standard "female light sentence" or is she going to get jail time equal to what a man would get?"

        Apparently part of her defense strategy was the Svengali thing, claiming she was manipulated, bullied and abused by the other defendant, Sonny Balwani. Apparently they had a clandestine sexual relationship for years. The jury didn't seem convinced, but some observers thought the judge might've been somewhat more sympathetic. We'll see when he sentences.

    3. I think it was also a matter of her personal involvement. She lied to the corporations faces, but had little, if any, direct contact with the individuals.

      1. Yeah, I guess that makes sense. I'd argue that causing serious misdiagnosis of thousands of patients is much worse than losing a few million DeVos dollars. By all accounts, the jury took it's time and seriously considered each count carefully.

    4. She is a sleaze who got only a fraction of what she deserved.

      1. 100 percent agree. She fooled a lot of people who should've known better. She's an interesting case study for the whole "when to question science" discussion from other posts.

  22. Ever wonder how the CDC spends your tax dollars and their staff's time? Here's an example:

    This is during a pandemic emergency.

  23. Something I have been wondering about, ever since January 6th is what US allied governments were discussing between November 7th and January 20th of last year. And what they're thinking now. I'd be really curious to know whether there was/is some discussion about if they were/are going to be put in a position where they would need to consider declining to recognize Trump as the legitimate President.

    I think they certainly would if through violence enough members of Congress were incapacitated that a rump Congress claiming a quorum tossed out electoral votes.

    They'd also probably do it if Pence (or a Senate President Pro Tem) claimed constitutional authority to reject electoral votes unilaterally. They don't have to pretend that clearly dumb constitutional theories are legitimate.

    Closer question is whether they would view some sort of judicial intervention as illegitimate or a scenario where a state legislature voted to send different electors than the ones that should have been sent based on the statewide vote. I could see them doing it if it was brazen enough compared to the vote totals.

    Remember coups will often justify themselves with a fig leaf of constitutional or legal justification. So even if Trump and supporters claimed a legal basis for staying in power (or claiming power in 2024 despite losing) that doesn't mean other governments would see it that way at all.

    Anyway, I'd love to see some reporting or commentary from IR experts about how our allied governments would react to a successful coup.

    1. If you actually cared about the rule of law, like the parroting democrats claimed during both impeachments, then you would be far more concerned about the pushes among the career bureaucrats to actively undermine Trump during his last days in office.

      Those actions - at least the ones that went public - were far closer to an actual "coup" then anything that might have been percolating in the Trump camp think tank. Generals talking about using the military and looping in foreign powers ought to be extremely worrying to just about everyone. Unelected bureaucrats discussing ways to refuse lawful orders from a sitting President are also extremely disturbing.

      But all of this gets lost with "Orange man BAD!!!!" and you get people like Lawguy here who seem absolutely fine with genuine talk of a real coup just because of Orange Man Bad.

      1. WTF are you talking about?

      2. You know they were talking about that BECAUSE trump was actively planning ways to stay in power despite losing an election, right? You get that right? He was planning a coup and people are supposed to just go…”eh whatever”? That’s ridiculous. Also Trump bureaucrats were actively thwarting the transition….or did you forget Emily Murphy or the failure of trump people in government to cooperate with Biden’s transition even though he obviously won the election.

        Also why do you people keep saying “orange man bad?” as a rejoinder to Trump opponents? It only serves to remind people that 1) Trump is in fact a bad person under pretty much any widely accepted moral system on the planet, and 2) he’s such a vain dumbass he thinks caking layers of fake tan on his face to the point he appears burnt orange. Why would you want to highlight that?

        1. *who thinks caking layers of fake tan on his face to the point he appears burnt orange makes him look good.

        2. Oh yeah it is Trump's fault that the left whipped everyone into a frenzy (even BEFORE the election if you remember) that Trump was planning on staying in power. None of that happened and other than some ideas in the incubator (that were addressing legitimate, serious concerns about the validity of some state elections) there was no active coup attempt or even try going to happen.

          And if you are a career bureaucrat or in the military you don't get to decide who is the legit leader in your point of view. And you don't get to conspire with foreign powers. And you don't get to plan your own coup against a sitting President, even if they are a lame duck power. To some this is also known as "treason."

          Should Trump maybe have worked with the Biden team on transition. Sure - maybe. There was no constitutional obligation to do so though. You can say he was being a poor sport about the whole thing, but that does not give you cause to plan your own coup. It just means you have to spend the first few months of you administration doing the transition work (which if you are taking up an opposition role would be a desirable strategic situation to have you enemy in).

          1. "Trump's fault that the left whipped everyone into a frenzy (even BEFORE the election if you remember) that Trump was planning on staying in power"

            Uh, Trump was saying the election would be fraudulent well *before* it happened. It was clear that even well past the meeting of the Electoral College that he was going to fight it (which is unprecedented).

            "And you don't get to plan your own coup against a sitting President"

            It's not a coup for government employees to resist what they think are unconstitutional commands.

            " It just means you have to spend the first few months of you administration doing the transition work"

            This leaves the new Executive and the nation they're representing at a disadvantage. As a general principle are you ok with that? Is the good of the country such a little value for you as opposed to 'having my guy maybe in/sticking it in the other guy's eye!'

            1. "This leaves the new Executive and the nation they're representing at a disadvantage. As a general principle are you ok with that? Is the good of the country such a little value for you as opposed to 'having my guy maybe in/sticking it in the other guy's eye!'"

              Probably not ideal if we care anything about having some kind of commonly understood norms, but the left spent the last 4 years blowing all those up. But also not a coup-causing-justifying event either. Far from that.

              The rest of your statement is just laughable and deserves no response.

              1. Jimmy:

                1. What my side did was not great I'll admit, but meh.
                2. I gots nothings.

          2. They were “whipped into a frenzy” because they were fucking right about him. He did try to stay in power, he was planning on using extra-constitutional means to do so, but not enough people went along with it, and he whipped up a mob to thwart the final certification. That’s a coup attempt. If this same series of events happened by a leftist leader in Latin America you’d be saying it was a coup.

            And actually military and civil officials take an oath to support the constitution. They have an independent obligation not to support someone trying to stay in power illegally.

            1. No one stayed in power illegally. No one made any serious attempt to stay in power illegally. That is just pure fantasy. There were some ideas wargamed, sure. But, ideas are just ideas.

              The "Trump is going to steal the election" articles started almost the day he was elected. It was a general scare tactic the media used for four years straight to support their fascist, nazi rhetoric. And there was plenty of evidence that the Dems WERE actually planning on stuffing ballot boxes so it was also a bit of false flag cover.

              Leftists have become border line delusional lately. Maybe it is that mass psychosis thing....

              1. “No one stayed in power illegally.”

                Because enough people didn’t go along with it.

                “No one made any serious attempt to stay in power illegally.”

                Because 1) enough people didn’t go along with it 2) the people who tried were incredible dumbasses. An inept
                attempt at murder is still an attempt at murder.

                “ There were some ideas wargamed, sure. But, ideas are just ideas.”

                The ideas included seizing voting machines, throwing out legitimate electoral votes, going to court to try and toss out votes in predominantly minority areas, pressuring Secretaries of State to “find” votes, getting the DOJ to declare widespread fraud without evidence, etc.

                When they didn’t happen, they just whipped up a mob to pressure Congress. Rudy Giuliani was calling senators DURING it to try and get them to object to lots of states to buy time. Trump was happy with the violence and didn’t ever call it off. He called his own VP a coward for not doing what he wanted.

                “The "Trump is going to steal the election" articles started almost the day he was elected.”

                Yes. Because people knew his personal and political character pretty well. And also there’s the fact he was claiming the election he won was still rigged based on illegal votes. Or did you forget that? Did you also forget he claimed Ted Cruz cheated and he actually should have won the Iowa caucuses? This aspect of his character was well-known. That’s why there were articles about it. (Oh and not for nothing, but he couldn’t even accept the legitimacy of a partial summary judgment going against him in an unrelated business suit…you think he’s going to suddenly be all high and mighty when it’s his own political power on the line?)

                “ It was a general scare tactic the media used for four years straight to support their fascist, nazi rhetoric”

                1. It was extremely accurate.
                2. You don’t know what racist and Nazi rhetoric is, do you? I can recommend some reading. Alternatively you might want to audit a college course on the subject.

                “ And there was plenty of evidence that the Dems WERE actually planning on stuffing ballot boxes so it was also a bit of false flag cover.”

                This is dumb. You have no evidence of this except the fever dreams in your head. I’d say you are lying but I think you are genuinely delusional given your increasingly unhinged statements. And FWIW I think the better explanation for this belief is the Adam Serwer one:

                “ When they say the 2020 election was stolen, Trumpists are expressing their view that the votes of rival constituencies should not count, even though they understand, on some level, that they do. They are declaring that the nation belongs to them and them alone, whether or not they actually comprise a majority, because they are the only real Americans to begin with.”

                You know more people didn’t want Trump, you just don’t think they should count. Therefore when they are in fact counted, that’s stealing to you.

                “ Leftists have become border line delusional lately. Maybe it is that mass psychosis thing....”

                You are making up fantasies about ballot box stuffing and making up excuses for or denying the reality of a Demi-literate con-man’s feeble and public dumb attempts to stay in political power despite clearly losing an election.

                This delusion accusation from you is pure projection.

                1. This screed proves that you have no connection reality and are delusional.

                  1. Lol. So you put out many long posts here, but when I do point by point refutation of your own words your only response it’s a “delusional screed.”

                    Also: I think it’s fairly connected to reality because my refutation is based on things and events that HAPPENED IN PUBLIC and can easily be identified. Also I suggested doing some reading for understanding what fascism is (which you clearly do not), what’s more reality-tethered than suggesting a trip to the library?

                    1. You can't even comprehend basic English. The media declared Trump a "fascist" and "nazi" over and over again. And yes indeed THEY did not have any understand of the actual meaning of those terms.

                    2. “It was a general scare tactic the media used for four years straight to support their fascist, nazi rhetoric”

                      That’s what you said which i simply copy-pasted. When you use the possessive “their” to refer to the subject that indicates the rhetoric is the subject’s. Had you wanted to say that they were using rhetoric that called Trump a fascist/Nazi…you should have written that. Your failure to communicate your meaning clearly is not my comprehension problem.

                      “ And yes indeed THEY did not have any understand of the actual meaning of those terms.”

                      I’d wager a fair amount that they know more about it than you do.

                    3. Jimmy the Dane : "The media declared Trump a "fascist" and "nazi" over and over again"

                      Oh? The "media" did? Was this after some vote taken by the overlords of a media council existing only in your fever-cooked brain? Were these terms issued in a style guide like Strunk and White?

                      I welcome your cites, knowing you can find this person (or that) who used this invective (or that). Of course I can match every one of your cites with an equal invective against Biden. Do I then get to claim the media "declared" those slurs ?!?

                      But those of us on the Left aren't the whiny butt-hurt crybaby two-year-olds of you on the Right. Hell, we can easily go an entire day without a wailing blue-faced tantrum - which is something you certainly can't say, Jimmy.....

                  2. Jimmy the Dane : “No one stayed in power illegally.”

                    Because a number of Republicans with ethics refused Trump's pleas to cook the numbers. This happened in Michigan, Arizona, and Georgia (among other places). Meanwhile, Judges & Justices appointed by Republicans refused to twist law and fact into pretzel knots to serve Trump's ends. And officials at the Justice Department threatened mass resignations if Trump demanded fake "voting fraud" investigation fabricated from whole cloth. And Trump's servile Vice President suddenly found a backbone, refusing to unconstitutionally block congressional certification.

                    So you're right, Jimmy, the coup failed. But I gotta make a couple of points :

                    1. It's strange to find YOU bragging about this, since it's one-hundred percent certain you'd have sold your oath-of-office away in a heartbeat if Trump asked corruption from you. Hell, you'd have probably thrown your poor old granny in to sweeten the deal.

                    2. Since the election, your fellow Republicans have been systematically trying to punish those officials who acted ethically. You've passed bills to strip their power away, transferring election certification authority to more cowardly and partisan actors. A Trump (or Trump-like creature) in '24 will find a much more sympathetic ear when trying to block the people's vote. For all your lingering disappointment, Jimmy, you may still get to destroy democracy yet.....

              2. The "Trump is going to steal the election" articles started almost the day he was elected.

                I mean, that's a lie, but if they had, they'd have been right, so I'm not sure what your point is.

                1. Well, sure, they actually started before he was elected, but calling it a lie on that basis seems a bit harsh.

                  1. Brett Bellmore: "Well, sure, they actually started before ... (etc)"

                    1. Given Trump started whining he was "cheated" after losing the first '16 caucus in Iowa, they'd have a point if that was so.

                    2. Given Trump shamelessly lied about being "cheated" of the popular vote immediately after the '16 election, they'd have a point if that was so.

                    3. Given Trump repeated refused to say he'd accept the '20 results during the year before the election - prepping his dupe-like base for a possible loss with "fraud" talk the entire time - they'd have a point if that was so.

                    4. Of course Trump did try to steal the '20 election - pressuring state officials to change the vote count or disavow their own numbers, pressuring his Justice Department to launch faux-investigations into "fraud" despite being told their were no grounds, pressuring his own V.P. to block congressional certification without constitutional justification, and summoning a mob to attack the Capitol.

                    He also believed (wrongly, thank God) that "his" Judges & Justices would rule for him regardless of the zero merit in scores of junk lawsuits (Trump was furious when they didn't). He also spent the two months after Election Day lying to the American people with a systematic virulence reminiscent of Soviet-era Tass or Pravda.

                    So they'd have a point, if that was so.

                    1. So, David denies it happened, you deny they were wrong to do it. Maybe you two can settle which is right?

                    2. Um, we both said the same thing, Brett.

          3. 'We don't let Trump go crazy and nuke Venezuela' is a pretty broad definition of coup.

            It may be bad practice, but that's not a coup.

            1. Always making up stories

              1. Read my comment again, and you will see I am not in fact telling a story wherein Trump nukes Venezuela.

    2. A certain segment of the population is always very interested in the opinions of foreign elites. Even to the extreme that they will say we should consider foreign elites' opinions when voting for American politicians for some reason.

      Foreign people never seem to owe it to Americans to consider American opinions when casting votes for their nations' leadership though.

      1. Ben, have you met someone who lives in another country in your life?
        Yes, US opinion matters to them, and is part of the issues they vote on.

        Mexico and Canada especially.

    3. Interesting question LTG. I only watch foreign news.And I never heard anything of that sort discussed. Also, I never heard the riot described as a coup or insurrection. So it is quite possible that the question never seriously came up except at cocktail parties.

  24. If Pence says "these votes don't count" and the joint session of Congress backs him up, then Europe recognizes Trump as president. If there is violence instead of politics then Europe makes sad noises and pleads for a peaceful solution to the internal conflict.

    I recently read some of the press coverage of the end of the Spanish Civil War. The anti-fascist governments weren't pleased but were forced to admit that Franco won.


    "in practice the idea that people should investigate topics on their own, instinctively skeptical of expert opinion, is often misguided. As psychological studies have repeatedly shown, when it comes to technical and complex issues like climate change and vaccine efficacy, novices who do their own research often end up becoming more misled than informed — the exact opposite of what D.Y.O.R. is supposed to accomplish."

    This is hard advice for many to accept, under it you're not special, you're not the hero, you're not the bold one, and you're initial leanings might be wrong. And for a lot of guys, that just can't be right...

    1. You go back to the 70's and 80's and the drum beat from the left was "do your own research!", "don't believe the establishment!", "they are lying to you!". Now they just want to flip the script and make you think you are too dumb to be able to read a paper designed to be read by someone with a high school education and apply standard critical thinking skills to reach your own conclusion. Just listen to the leftist "expert" and don't dare question them. They went to a fancy university where they learned about how our country is systemically racist and always has been and how to fix that with social justice. So we should all just listen to the "expert" now, right?

      1. You are too 'dumb.'

        Things can be complicated and can't be fully understood with high school level reading. You're not special, you're not a hero. You very, very, very, very likely know a lot, lot, lot, lot about something than persons who have spent far, far, far, far more time and effort learning about and practicing a complicated field.

        You're not special.

        1. I probably do know more about many subjects because I didn't spend all my time in higher education talking about privilege or apologizing to people about various protected classes of which I may have been a member of at the time.

          1. Christ you sound like Trump.

            ISIS: "I know more about ISIS [the Islamic State militant group] than the generals do. Believe me."

            Banking: "Nobody knows banking better than I do."

            U.S. system of government: "I think nobody knows the system better than I do."

            Nuclear horror: "There is nobody who understands the horror of nuclear more than me."

            In other words, you don't know shit.

  26. You don't have to draw the (of course) partisan motivated extrapolations from any of these, but would the conservative folks here like to defend *as a general principle* any of the following:

    1. The VP can reject the counting of state certified electors.
    2. A Presidential candidate calling a Secretary of State of his own party and urging them to 'find' enough votes that were not counted due to fraud to switch the state to that candidate.
    3. A sitting President who seemingly has lost an election, after urging supporters he's called to the scene to march on the Congress certifying his losing election (let's put a pin in that as ok for now), and then witnessing unprecedented (for that process) violence/chaos, waiting for hours to urge those supporters to stop.

    1. 5 out of 5 duopolists agree - the public ought to be much more concerned about former President Goldstein - I mean Trump - than about the economy, the pestilence, or other minor matters.

      (I'm hoping to repeat the word "duopolist" like Arthur repeats the word "clinger")

      1. Let's leave your right-wing media bubble fantasy life for a minute and maybe address my questions?

        1. Who cares? Of course Trump is a crass, genital-grabbing opportunist. He pulls constitutional theories out of his rectum. The ideas he put forward were in aid of promoting his personal ambition. (How different from all the other, more responsible politicians out there).

          A lot of voters, aware of what he is, still preferred him to the establishment.

          Yeah, it's a pity that the duopoly (that is, Demopublicans and Republicrats) are so bad that some people got desperate enough to vote for this guy. But he and they lost - now Trump serves as a Goldstein in regime propaganda.

          1. "A lot of voters, aware of what he is, still preferred him to the establishment."

            Yeah, embarrassing asshole who'll largely leave me alone while trying to enforce popular laws, vs suave, sophisticated control freak who blows off enforcement of any law he or she doesn't personally approve of. It wasn't an ideal choice by a long shot, but I didn't find it a hard one, either.

            1. Has your life really been more put upon by the government with Biden in office?
              Seems about the same to me.

              1. Yes, actually. For instance, the administration's policy of increasing energy costs is hitting me pretty hard in the pocketbook. Hit those guys working on the Keystone pipeline harder, though.

                I'm not that keen about the automobile kill switch law, either, though that doesn't actually kick in for another 5 years. Last summer on vacation, I was driving a rental car through the Nevada desert, and got a pop up notice on my dash; The car thought I was driving like I was fatigued, and thought I should pull over and rest a bit.

                I was in the middle of a freaking desert, suppose the car had shut down, instead of just pestering me? It could have gotten ugly.

                Yeah, yeah, who am I to complain about "infrastructure", right?

                So, yes, he's in my face more than Trump, and would be even more in it if not for that razor thin majority in Congress causing a lot of crazy bills to fail.

                1. "suppose the car had shut down"

                  I shudder at the engineering you'd need.

                  It's bad enough if it is just a 'won't start if it thinks you are drunk' capability. Even then you are going to have the occasional death when someone cutting firewood gets mangled by the chain saw and the system won't let him drive to the hospital. You can make the utilitarian argument that as long as you save more innocent DUI victims it's worth it, but Mr. Chainsaw's wife is going to be pissed.

                  If you are going to start shutting down moving cars, oy vey. How do you safely shut down a car that's doing 60 in rush hour traffic? I suppose you could start a gradual slowdown, but you will still have the occasional tragedy as Ms. Soccer Mom tries to get to the shoulder, or she gets to the shoulder only to get rear ended by a semi.

                  It seems like a really tough engineering problem.

                  Does the bill prohibit people suing the car company if the system fails in the other direction, and lets a drunk driver hurt someone?

                  1. How do you safely shut down a car that's doing 60 in rush hour traffic?

                    Which will be an argument used for the next generation of laws, requiring all vehicles to accept and obey standardized wireless "stop" signals. Those could be generated by another vehicle in front of you in an emergency, but of course could also be generated by the authorities.

                    It'll be interesting to see if sending such a signal will be treated legally like a 4th Amendment stop, or more like turning a traffic light red, which the authorities can already do at discretion. I suspect the latter, although maybe they would draw the line at keeping the "stop" signal active for half an hour while waiting for the probable cause generating canines to arrive and bark when told.

                    1. "Which will be an argument used for the next generation of laws, requiring all vehicles to accept and obey standardized wireless "stop" signals. Those could be generated by another vehicle in front of you in an emergency, but of course could also be generated by the authorities."

                      That sounds like a great idea. Crooks wouldn't every have their antenna 'accidentally' break, and hackers would never paralyze a city by stopping all the cars. No doubt it will use airtight security.

                2. This is really minor, and speculative stuff.

                  Don't pretend your life has changed. You like Trump for reasons other than that.

                  1. S_0,
                    "This is really minor, and speculative stuff. "
                    Nonsense, I have had actually had my car sshut down electrically will driving on the interstate. Very fortunately I was driving in the rightmost lane and there was a broad shoulder. But getting a modern car to stop or steer without power assist is far from an enjoyable experience. Same thing happened to my wife on a neighborhood street with no traffic.
                    Yes, it was our fault. We should never have bought a Saab.

                    1. Biden didn't do it yet, but my imagination can conjure a slippery slope wherein this other thing will happen and then be abused? Come on.

                      The libertarian argument for Trump is nonsense.

                    2. "Biden didn't do it yet"

                      No, it was snuck into the Infrastructure bill, and Biden signed that weeks ago. It just doesn't kick in for a few years, but it's already law.

                  2. "Person who likes the orders doesn't understand why you dislike being ordered about. News at 11."

                    1. You haven't been ordered to do anything new, is my point.

                    2. Wait, was Joe Biden the "suave, sophisticated" person you were talking about? I'm not sure you could apply those adjectives to any president since Franklin Roosevelt.

                    3. Yeah, nobody "ordered" me to pay more for energy. They just arranged for it to be unavoidable.

                      The sad fact is, you're constitutionally incapable of understanding why people object to the downsides of policies you approve of. It's some kind of weird cognitive deficit, I guess.

                    4. "Wait, was Joe Biden the "suave, sophisticated" person you were talking about?"

                      Relative to Trump.

          2. Cal Cetín : "A lot of voters, aware of what he is, still preferred him to the establishment"

            That's a very gentle way of putting it. I'd rephrase it thus:

            A lot of people found great yee-haw knee-slapping entertainment watching a smirking Trump treat everybody and everything with contempt. These people have come to conflate politics & governance with entertainment, after years of their consumer-oriented Fox News and talk radio. A show was what they voted for.

            You can blame the "establishment" if it makes you feel better, but the real cause is Right-wing leaders and media pandering at a gutter level. That's what created this audience of voters who saw the presidency as nothing more reality-TV.

            1. So long as you operate in a two-party, giant-douche-versus-turd-sandwich political paradigm, or believe you operate in such a context, then you're going to end up voting for an unpalatable candidate.

              If you vote for Giant Douche, then the Turd-Sandwich supporters will accuse you of supporting everything Giant Douche does. Maybe you simply wanted to vote *against* the turn sandwich.

              1. Naturally, there is a contingent of hard-core Trump supporters. They are of course the most vocal of the Trump voters. But without the lesser-evil voters, Trump wouldn't have won in 2016.

                The lesser-evil voters included many former Obama voters. If they were shallow yahoos when they voted for Trump, then they would probably be shallow yahoos when they voted for Obama.

                1. Cal Cetín : If they were shallow yahoos when they voted for Trump, then they would probably be shallow yahoos when they voted for Obama.

                  Of course there were "shallow yahoos" who voted for Obama. There are "shallow yahoos" voting for every candidate. But whatever inarticulate reason they had to vote for BHO, it wasn't for WWE-style entertainment. Obama wasn't that season's must-see reality-TV spectacle.

                  Ever wonder how people claim Trump is against the "swamp" when his administration was the most corrupt in decades? Because it was - in terms of people using their office for personal advantage; or contempt for ethical restrictions or regulations; or monied-interests ruling policy for their ends.

                  So how? This: Trump was against the "swamp" because he gleefully wiped his lard ass on the office of the presidency and anything else that came within reach. People voted to watch that, and Fox News (among others) has spent decades systematically creating an audience that superficial - people who expect or want no more than that...

                  1. How did Fox News get *Obama voters* to vote for Trump? Something's off with your analysis.

                    Stylistically, nobody could have contrasted more sharply with Trump than Obama. He was suave and sophisticated, and NPR listeners swooned at his charm and eloquence.

                    Again, though, not everyone who voted for Obama was a cultist who couldn't wait to vote for their dreamboat. They were simply fed up with the policies of the other side and hoped that Obama would combine the advantages of comparative outsider status and racial healing powers. If these swing voters turned to Trump, it meant that they maybe hadn't gotten the things they expected from Obama - or that they were not confident in his designated successor.

    2. You don't have to draw the (of course) partisan motivated extrapolations from any of these, but would the conservative folks here like to defend *as a general principle* any of the following:

      I can't speak for "the conservative folks here", but for myself:

      1. The VP can reject the counting of state certified electors.

      Seems unlikely, but the answer is hardly crystal clear.

      2. A Presidential candidate calling a Secretary of State of his own party and urging them to 'find' enough votes that were not counted due to fraud to switch the state to that candidate.

      Queenie's 3rd grade reading level gets the best of him/her/it/whatever.

      3. A sitting President who seemingly has lost an election, after urging supporters he's called to the scene to march on the Congress certifying his losing election (let's put a pin in that as ok for now), and then witnessing unprecedented (for that process) violence/chaos, waiting for hours to urge those supporters to stop.

      Why would anyone bother to put in the effort to seriously respond to this extremely partisan "understanding" of events?

      Queenie, queen of the dumb, incapable of reasonable discourse.

      1. What do you think happened on Jan 06, and do you think Trump lost the election?

        1. A large protest that turned into a 'mostly peaceful' riot.

          Yes, Trump lost the election. Duh? Just because I poke fun of your tedious and tendentious BS, and Queenie's blatant stupidity, doesn't make me a "Trumpist". Get over yourself. I voted LP every chance I got in both 2016 and 2020, you?

          1. I asked because I didn't know, not because I assumed you did.

            If so, I don't see how you can see the 3 as anything other than a statement of the facts. What is the fact being left our or misstated there?

  27. I watched the new Matrix movie. A fan (though not huge) of the 1st one, thought the others ok, liked this one. The whole 'new matrix' set up that dominated the first third I thought was clever, if in a fan service kind of way.

    1. Queen Amalthea : "The whole 'new matrix' set up that dominated the first third I thought was clever, if in a fan service kind of way"

      I thought that cleverly meta too - referencing the Hollywood sequel Machine with all its commercial pressure, consumer pandering, and requisite compromise. Whether sincere or not, it suggested a twinge of ambivalence over dusting the Matrix off for another go. (All the way to the bank, needless to say)

      The middle third was pretty meh, and I was damn-close to tuning everything out at that scene with French-accent guy sputtering while hoards of people perfunctory kicked and punched. Plus there was some people-survivor politics stuff, which didn't work for me in sequels 2&3, and likewise here.

      The ending was decent, though I thought I'd wandered into a zombie movie at times (those zombie-bombs were new, I gotta admit). All in all, I was a bit disappointed - victimized by my high expectations.

  28. At least we have a secular commemoration to supersede the boring Epiphany/Theophany celebrations which used to clutter up January 6.

    1. It is weird that we would have a gift giving celebration on the supposed day of Jesus birth and not on the supposed day of the Magi gift giving. But a lot of American/Western religion is theologically weird.

      1. It's this blog's official motto: "Whatever is weird, whatever is trollish, think upon these things...and post about them."

        1. I think you might be misunderstanding me.

          Christ's birth gives us Christians a super-important (sorry for the non-intelligent term) point, because while Judaism is focused on the importance of the Law as a mechanism of self control, Christianity gives us the example of the Christ, Jesus. His life of self-denial of base instincts is meant to replace the Las, his birth is therefore to be celebrated.

          The Epiphany marks, at best, the recognition of the birth of the Christ (example) by others, with gifts. Gift giving is really adjacent.

          1. Oops, for a moment I thought you were doing a Kirkland. I apologize.

            Yes, I apologize, why not, it's Epiphany/Theophany.

  29. Hi everyone, Andrew the undergrad here again. I finished the research paper on the 14th Amendment, Reconstruction, and Hobbes if anyone, especially those who previously commented, are interested in looking.

    1. If you are an undergraduate you should absolutely stop thinking anything you have to say is something to put up here or elsewhere. You very, very, very likely have a lot to learn about anything you want to say about. Take some years and *STUDY* that subject. Largely ignore other things, focus on it. Bracket most other things out. Mull things out, kick them around in your head, do some studies, triple check them.

      THEN pontificate.

      The opposite is what, well, gets you most of what is here in the comments.

      1. "The opposite is what, well, gets you most of what is here in the comments."

        And you're singling out this particular commenter?

        1. Plus, the poor fellow is obviously a masochist, inviting comments on his student paper.

        2. I'm just saying that an aspiring academic should not be seeking input from an online ideological non-moderated site.

          They have to please a committee of three or four PhDs, there's few of them here.

          1. Every research paper gets reviewed by a committee of PhDs? Maybe you have some more background leading you to this assumption?

            But, you are right about one thing, you should definitely not be consulted for input on anything.

      2. “ If you are an undergraduate you should absolutely stop thinking anything you have to say is something to put up here or elsewhere.”

        This is bad advice.

        1. It's the best. One has to put in a lot of work to be taken seriously. You'd like to ignore that, because you don't want to put in a lot of work.

          1. Part of that work involves putting yourself out there and getting your ideas tested. Imagine if Ramanujan decided not to write to Hardy.

            “ You'd like to ignore that, because you don't want to put in a lot of work.”

            No, I just don’t like being rudely dismissive to students, especially college ones. They’re going to be taken seriously a lot sooner than perhaps you’d like anyway. And FWIW, I’ve never had a professor who was any good who didn’t think that their students were worth listening to.

        2. This is bad advice.

          The only kind Queenie is capable of.

    2. Ignore Queenie. Bouncing your ideas off people is good. The things you have to say are not unimportant. Even if they’re rough ideas or wrong, putting it out there in the world is how you refine your ideas to make them better. That’s why professors put out drafts on SSRN or blog posts of things they’re thinking about or present early findings at conferences. Plus if you’re going to law/grad school/workforce people are going to be treating you like a colleague sooner rather than later anyway.

      And this looks like a solid undergrad thesis/capstone. (Way better than mine were). Not sure I agree with the thesis, but trying to use theory to illuminate historical events is definitely worth the attempt as an undergrad.

      1. LTG,
        You considerably understate that value of SSRN and other preprint servers such as arXiv, medRxiv, and bioRxiv. They are far from practice media for thoe going to conferences; rather they are the way to get one's work in the public without waiting for the lengthy peer review process. My last epidemiology paper submitted in August did not get reviews back until shortly before Thanksgiving. I'll get the revised manuscript in this week after I have updated all the relevant statistics by months. In the meanwhile the paper hs gotten noticed by others and I could cite the medRxiv paper in a grant proposal to NSF or NIH.

    3. Andrew, I'm not going to read your paper, but if you have the instinct to understand that Hobbes is worth a look in the context of American constitutionalism, then you are way ahead of most of this crowd.

      As you keep thinking about it, try to get as familiar as you can with the writings of founder James Wilson. Those have not had the attention they deserve. He wrote some interesting stuff about sovereignty. Jefferson may have cribbed important stuff for the Declaration of Independence from him. There may a yet-unrecognized connection between Wilson and Franklin that could be explored in Franklin's papers, with an eye to unreported interactions at the Constitutional Convention.

      All of that could be a stinking mess of red herring, though. Good luck.

      1. Stephen, you could've at least read his summary. He is talking about Hobbes in terms of the "second founding," reconstruction and passage of those amendments and laws immediately following the Civil War. He seems to be comparing the conditions in the South after the war with a Hobbesian state of nature, and using what he calls a "Hobbesian analysis" on the motive for various laws and amendments, as well as the eventual undoing of most of that. I'll read the paper when I get a chance, it sounds interesting.

    4. OK, I I read the Hobbes parts of your paper and I read *some* of the rest.

      First, I have to commend your courage in reaching out to lots of people - especially the nice guys on this blog - for comments on your paper.

      As for me, Hobbes is not really my favorite guy. I'd love to say he wasn't connected with the Founders, though maybe he is. Many of the people who want to associate the Founders with Hobbesianism are post-liberals who think the Founders should be taken down a peg.

      1. While you defend the 1787 constitution against Taney's attacks, you seem too sympathetic to the notion of the Reconstruction Amendments (especially the 14th) as radical Hobbesian changes to the 1787 documents ideas of federalism in favor of a more powerful central government.

        There's still federalism left after the Civil War, just as there were nationalist elements in the Constitution before the war.

        It's not that I idolize the Constitution, it's that I think it's better than the slavers (and Garrisonians) said it was. While there are problems with the Constitution, the current attacks against it (open or covert) are designed to make the Constitution worse not better.

        Mixing in Hobbes, who combined the worst features of contractarianism, authoritarianism, and political atheism, with the Constitution is the opposite direction from what I'd like to go.

  30. Have to wonder why there has been no comments on Biden's speech today. While most of the left wing media is praising it as the best Biden speech ever and a small sliver of FOX news is calling it either an attempt to change the subject from topics bad for Bidens poll numbers or simply to cause division there is no question it is a sea change from any previous Biden speech.

    Biden basically reenforced the Orange Man Bad position Trump's detractors hold and waved a red flag in front of the around 1/3 of peeps who are solidly behind Trump. Not only is the MSM heavily covering the speech but also seem to be piling on with blurbs about the 6 Jan event (something there seems to be no agreed upon name for; was it an existential threat to America or an over blown frat prank gone bad).

    I am not really sure why so much attention is being given to 6 Jan given lots of other stuff much closer to home for most peeps. YMMV

    1. "Have to wonder why there has been no comments on Biden's speech today."

      One thing the left, right, and middle can agree on is that ignoring Biden makes things better.

      "Not only is the MSM heavily covering..."

      They have a very small audience most of the time. Especially times like now when they have no actual news to report.

  31. How disingenuous is it for the Dems to have a prayer candlelight vigil for police after spending pretty much all of 2020 trashing them? Their "service" was cringeworthy to the max. Plus Grossi Pelosi looked like a witch ruling over her coven.

    1. Not half as disingenuous as Biden attributing a cop killed by Farakann supporters to January 6th.

    2. "Grossi Pelosi looked like a witch ruling over her coven."
      Definitely a sexist comment.

  32. Eugene Volokh is a sadistic, unethical liar of the highest order. He gets paid by Google so that's why he's purposely ignores the pain to victims of these crimes. He doesn't care because he gets richer if laws are not passed to make Google remove harmful material. But these laws are necessary because otherwise victims have no recourse, and criminals are having a field day online. Eugene helps criminals and lines his own pockets with money.

    If you look through these forums, many others have called out Eugene's hypocritical analysis. The sadistic guy (EV) seems to take extreme pleasure in people getting their lives destroyed by harassers online and coming out and defending the harassers while leaving the victims to hang. He takes pleasure when people lose their jobs and livelihoods over doxing. He takes pleasure when plaintiffs cannot file suits using a pseudonym even when they are doing so to protect being re-victimized by the court system. He does not ever talk about how malicious the perpetrators are - they use VPN to hide their own privacy while purposefully, intentionally trying to destroy the lives of innocent victims. He never talks about whether it's fair or not for perpetrators to be able to hide behind "Free Speech" while all the friction to justice in the legal system fall on innocent victims. He never talks about how Section 230 has enabled intermediaries to contribute to the abuse by not removing harmful content in time. He never talks about the suicides that come with cyberharassment and bullying and how victims cannot ever get away from the tormentors. He doesn't give a shit, that's why he's a psychopathic asshole. Most people who take an absolutist view on the 1A have low empathy for people's sufferings, and are obsessed with defending the rights of a bunch of pervs, assholes, psychos, and low-life criminals of society who do not deserve defending and should be punished (fines or jail or both). Bad people deserve to be punished, but Eugene is advocating to punish the good people instead. Eugene Volokh is a grade A sadistic liar and a borderline psychopath based on his behaviour. He enjoys seeing people in pain and then coming out with his BS "Free Speech" arguments to make victims suffer more. You can see it in his eyes, he loves to destroy people using the "Free Speech" shield.

    Eugene Volokh's approach would give victims of malicious targeted online harassment no legal recourse, even if their lives have been turned upside down by the malicious stalking or harassment from these individuals, and the speech does not implicate public interests and are purely aimed to harm the victims. For Eugene, Free Speech trumps all - deaths, suicides, victims be damned.

    Volokh purposefully ignores talking about the huge impact to the lives of victims of cyberharassers who target these people for years because the harasser has a mental issue. The reality is that Free Speech should be balanced with safety and appropriate privacy for citizens online, otherwise it's been weaponized by sick and sadistic bastards and criminals, and Eugene is fighting hard for these sadistic bastards and criminals to keep harming people. Eugene has never given two shits about the victims of cyber-harassment, never in any of his papers does he even consider the unique nature of the internet and the ability for malicious actors to ruin private individuals who are not in the public eye. Eugene Volokh has opposed laws banning doxing, revenge porn, Section 230 reform, etc... anything that would put more legal responsibility on platforms, ISPs, and intermediaries to make their products safer for people and to balance Free Speech with privacy.

    That's what's wrong with the USA today, it's maniacal focus on Free Speech to the extent of allowing social harms is what will destroy this country. All the countries around the world like EU, UK, Hong Kong, Australia, NZ, Canada, Brazil, Argentina are all passing legislation to criminalize doxing, online stalking, online harassment as it should, as these are crimes against human dignity. Is the right to be "free from harassment" not a fundamental right? Eugene doesn't think so. He fights for criminals to continue harming people online. Eugene is a threat to the American public and to the future of the country. He is basically fighting for America to be lawless online. Why should something be legal online when it is illegal offline?

  33. People on this forum who support Eugene Volokh are nothing but domestic terrorists who support using "speech" that is part of criminal conduct to justify online harms. America is screwed if people don't have the civility to agree that things like online harassment, cyberstalking, doxing are malicious and illegal. It means the people in this country have totally lost it and have no value of decency whatsoever. Free Speech is being weaponized to hurt the fabric of society and people are drunk on it.

    Eugene Volokh is a sadistic piece of shit for trying to harm the US social fabric.

  34. Eugene Volokh's first speech absolutism is a danger to the American society. He actively fights for the rights to cyberharassers, cyberstalkers, pervs, trolls, sadists, online criminals to harm people using "online" means. The guy is a sadistic POS.

  35. Volokh is a dishonest liar and sadistic human being with no ethics or morals. He only cares about superficial "speech", with no understanding (or even effort to understand) the fact that the internet has made it possible for anyone to use "speech" to wreak another's life, with or without justification, and many times, purely out of spite. This is why cases of cyberharassment, doxing, cyberstalking, revenge porn, blackmail are going through the roof, yet Eugene doesn't say a word about this. Has Eugene Volokh ever honestly asked himself, is it fair that the OFFENDERS CAN CONVENIENTLY HIDE BEHIND THE EXCUSE OF FREE SPEECH BUT WRECK HAVOC TO THE EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL LIVES OF THEIR VICTIMS? Does Eugene give a damn? This is part of the problem. Free Speech should only be free to the extent your rights don't interfere with those of others to live their lives free from your interference. "Your rights end under my nose".

    Yet Eugene doesn't care about the victims, the people who are harmed by malicious, low-value-add free speech that is solely meant to harm and torment private individuals. He wants every single law that would help victims of these crimes get redress to be cut down, so that criminals can run freely on the internet, and maximize the lethality of revealing victim's private information, doxing them, causing them emotional and social upheaval. The real reason Eugene supports this dangerous view is because it enriches Big Tech like Google, which then give kickbacks behind the scenes to Eugene Volokh. Eugene indirectly makes money from the pain and suffering of victims.

    Eugene Volokh is an emotionless being who doesn't weigh both sides of the arguments. For this robotic, emotionless “lawyer”, it's either Free Speech or nothing. His textualist interpretation of the First Amendment doesn't take into account that the Framers likely never even imagined the advent of the Internet, in which case an overly expansive view of the First Amendment can actually cause social harms because there is no barrier to entry, no cost of publishing cheap, harmful, malicious speech. Combined with Google's search engine, this means any malicious actor can type harmful things about someone, with or without justification, and this has a disproportionately large and negative impact on the victims' life, just for the sake of protecting the speaker's "freedom". But no consideration is made to balance the rights of the speaker against the rights of the victims, including the right of the victim to be free from harassment, free from stalking, privacy rights, freedom from intrusion into their lives. These are also Constitutional Rights (4th Amendment and elsewhere) Eugene ignores all of this and still adheres to his sadistic and dangerous view that it's all about the speaker and the rights of the victims be damned, even if they are bullied to suicide.

    How come Eugene has never addressed the fact that cyber-harassment and cyberstalking hurt and suppress the FREE SPEECH rights of victims? Isn't that a violation of the free speech rights of victims? Not surprisingly, Eugene is completely silent on this. That’s because he has an ulterior motive.

    Eugene Volokh's views are dangerous to the social fabric of America.

    The fact that no one on this forum, including himself, can respond to my points in a rational way shows that Eugene himself knows my arguments to be correct. I've exposed him as a biased, partisan, dishonest mouthpiece of Big Tech (especially Google), not dissimilar to other dishonest organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), who wants to strike down consumer protection laws online to enrich themselves at the expense of protecting Americas. Eugene is a dishonest individual with a hidden agenda to enrich Big Tech. He doesn't care about Free Speech at much as you think, what he cares about is making money by peddling dangerous views. If you notice, all of his views are exactly what Google would like to see, and he has written papers directly funded by Google absolving Google of all platform/ISP liability.

    Prove me wrong Eugene. Your lack of ability to rationally respond to my points suggests you admit them to be true.

  36. This is the regime to combat harmful online harassment that the USA needs to be set up, ASAP:

    1. Congress needs to pass federal personal data protection laws that criminalize malicious doxing and cyberstalking on a federal level, giving uniformity across state lines.

    2. Congress needs to reform Section 230 to remove ISP immunity from liability if they are notified of cyberstalking, doxing content, and malicious cyberharassment targeting individuals for no legitimate purpose, and impose fines for ISPs and networks that do not remove within a period of time. Fine Google/Facebook say USD 1000 per day if the content remains up and they do not remove.

    3. Institute "notice-and-takedown" mechanism for cyberstalking, cyberharassment, doxing content similar to DMCA for Copyright. The poster can appeal but he needs to reveal his identity and location (similar to DMCA), which would allow victims to sue him if necessary.

    4. Update specific jurisdiction requirements to allow victim of online harassment and stalking to sue from their own state rather than spending exorbitant resources to find out the location of the defendant, who may be out of the country.

    5. If anonymous defendant is found to be using VPN, the plaintiff gets default judgment unless defendant comes out, reveals his identity, to fight the charges.

    6. Establish uniform rule to allow victims of cyber-harassment and cyberstalking to file civil and criminal lawsuits using pseudonym to protect them from re-victimization.

    7. Establish local, state, and federal cyber-investigation cells to investigate reported online crimes rather than ignoring these harms.

    8. Establish a Federal court specifically designed to fight against cyber crimes, with limited jurisdictional and uniformity of application issues.

    We need ROBUST laws in the 21st century that balance Freedom of Expression with curbing online harms. Online harassment will not go away, no matter how hard Eugene Volokh tries to deny it. History will prove him wrong.

    To hell with unrestricted, expansive, dangerously broad "Free Speech" interpretations. The rights of a psycho or mentally ill, malicious harasser to harass, torment others takes a back seat to the rights of the victims to be free from this abuse. See Canada's new "tort of internet harassment." America is falling behind by miles.

  37. Prolonged cyber-harassment, multiple instances of doxing, prolonged cyberstalking that can be shown to have malicious intent, will be categorized as "courses of conduct", and not "speech", hence will not receive First Amendment protections. They will be prosecuted for the crimes against individuals that they are, and malicious online stalkers who try to stay in the shadows and destroy innocent victims' lives will be locked up and fined, or both.

  38. If telephone harassment is illegal in states like California (PC 653m), then why the hell is doxing and online harassment NOT illegal and a crime? Makes zero sense.

    What's your view on this Eugene Volokh? Do you just think the world is better off if cyberstalkers are allowed to run amok and damage the fabric of society?

  39. Stalkers who use the anonymity of the internet to hide in the shadows, hide behind Free Speech, to try to ruin people's lives, are cowards and scum of the earth.

    The people who actively help these scum to hide from the law and hurt their victims without legal recourse are worse than scum.

    1. Wow!

      4 1/2 hours of online ranting (golf clap).

      About this statement, "Stalkers who use the anonymity of the internet to hide in the shadows, hide behind Free Speech, to try to ruin people's lives, are cowards and scum of the earth," that's you, right?

      1. Stupid idiot. Volokh's incorrect interpretation of the First Amendment would mean anyone can ruin anyone else's life by posting crap online about them, and the victim can NEVER get away from this, no matter how malicious.

      2. Four and one-half hours seems a lot.

        But then I consider the Volokh Conspirators . . .

  40. What is Eugene Volokh's response to how victims of cyberstalking can get redress? What is his solution for VICTIMS? Does he even have one?

  41. So all Eugene cares about is fighting for the stupid rights of pervs, trolls, malicious mentally-ill psychos and ignores the right of the victims to be free from these people? His arguments and essays are laughable. They don't address the other side - the right of the victims. What is Eugene's answer to this?

    1. His response was probably to mute you. That's what I'm doing.

  42. Texas Toddler Shoots Mother and 1-Year-Old Sibling in Walmart Parking Lot

    So Yea or Nay on holding parents criminally accountable when minors shoot someone with an unsecured weapon?

    I vote Yea.

    1. By all means arrest the toddler's mother.

      1. Why not the father if he was the one who left it unsecured/unattended?

        Also, I recognize this is definitely a complicated issue and the venue (public area vs private home) may change the criminal liability.

        But at what point does negligent homicide kick in?

        1. Reserve judgment and await more evidence.

      2. Oops, I thought she'd been killed, I was attempting a ghoulish joke, but in fact she's in the hospital and the article doesn't seem to know her condition because it wasn't mentioned in the police press release.

        So since she's still alive, I say reserve judgment and await more evidence.

    2. Give toddlers the vote!

    3. What does an arrest solve? You think the mother and father are OK with the way events transpired but would think twice if they knew they might face arrest?

    4. Nay, unless they're living it unsecured in the toddler's room.

      I grew up in an era when keeping guns "unsecured" was the norm, you had to be pretty hoity toity to even have a locking gun cabinet. And such accidents were rare. They're rare today, it's just that if one happens anywhere in the country, it's reported nation-wide, giving you a mistaken impression of how common they are. In order to give you that mistaken impression, even.

      Maybe go after the low hanging fruit first, like swimming pools that don't have 6 foot fences with barbed wire on top surrounding them? Stairs that lack safety lines you can clip your belt to?

  43. Volokh's interpretation of the 1A is borderless sadistic.

    Under Eugene Volokh’s asinine interpretation of the First Amendment, there would be NO such thing as cyberstalking or cyber-harassment! These crimes would simply not exist in his world. Because these actions are performed with words, Eugene would have the 1A apply to anything that involves words (or by extension, pixels). No course of conduct that involves typing words on a screen would be subject to any civil or criminal liability regardless of content, form, or intention. This mean in Eugene’s warped world, revenge porn, doxing, public disclosure of private fact, privacy violations, even swatting would be perfectly legal, and even encouraged!
    Ludicrously, he argues that these malicious acts are actually “valuable” because they provide value to “at least some people.” That’s a BS argument, because anyone can argue that say doxing material provides value to “someone” – yeah, the doxers and the criminals doing the harassment of course! A person’s credit card can be posted and it would provide value to someone, the thieves. A person’s revenge porn pictures can be posted and it would be obviously valuable to countless shady people on the internet. Eugene’s 1A internet speech test is: as long as the information posted is “of value” to someone, that content doesn’t qualify as harassment! This insanely warped logic is beyond asinine that I wonder how Eugene can say this with a straight face. There is no discussion at all from him on the rights of the victims and their constitutional right to be free from malicious harassment (4th Amendment). Eugene Volokh is borderline sadist who just wants to see people’s lives get wrecked and he takes enjoyment in seeing victims suffer.
    No civilized society would just let victims take the brunt of harassment while online criminals can get away by hiding behind a warped definition of the First Amendment. If the constitution says “Congress shall make no law” then maybe the 1A needs a new interpretation in the age of the internet! Because the current approach is leading to very bad social results and instability when people can just say whatever they want online with no liability. Volokh is insane.

    1. I don't know of any site that allows revenge porn in its terms of service, nor is revenge porn covered by the First Amendment, nor do I think EV supports safe havens for revenge porn. Many states have criminalized revenge porn. Are you sure you're not overstating your case?

    2. You could just move to China. They have lots of civility oriented laws for online speech. Police can even jail people for two weeks without involving a court.

      I suppose I would be neglectful if I didn't mention that the laws are most frequently used to shield the government and government officials from criticism.

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